National Day in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is celebrated every 23 June and is also known as the “Official Birthday of the Grand Duke or Duchess.” However, the date does not actually correspond to the birthday of any present or past Duke or Duchess of Luxembourg.
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From 1919, the Grand Duchess Charlotte’s birthday was observed on 23 June instead of the real date of 23 January to ensure the celebration could be enjoyed with fair summer weather. In 1947, her observed birthday on 23 June was declared a national holiday. In 1961, the June date was made permanent. And though Charlotte’s reign ended in 1964, the June birthday date continues to be celebrated up to the present.
National Day, however, is a time to celebrate more than the birthday of a monarch or even the institution of the monarchy. It is an occasion to remember Luxembourg’s unique history and culture and to celebrate its independence.
Should you find yourself in Luxembourg during Luxembourgian National Day, here are some events you may wish to attend:
- Celebrations begin on 22 June, “National Day Eve.” In Luxembourg City you can see a torchlight procession that starts at 10pm and a large fireworks show. Earlier in the day, at 4pm, you can see a changing of the guard ceremony at the Grand Duke’s palace.
- After the fireworks are over, Luxembourg City becomes the scene of a massive party. All over town, in alleyways and streets and public buildings, the festivities continue for hours on end. There are free-to-attend concerts, dance events, and an abundance of food stalls.
- The Grand Duke and his family visit several towns in Luxembourg each year for National Day. On 22 June you can see them in Esch sur Alzette, the country’s second-largest city, normally about 5pm in the Place de la Resistance. Only half an hour later, he will usually visit the town of Troisvierges, specifically at the Place de la Mairie.
- On National Day itself there will be official ceremonies, the inspection of the troops by the Grand Duke, a 101-cannon salute, and a large military parade near the Luxembourg City train station. Additionally, there is a traditional mass held on National Day afternoon, around 4:30 pm, at the Notre Dame Cathedral.