Prisma Newsletter Q2 2014
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What to do this Summer in Luxembourg
Just click on the link to discover it all: Prisma Newsletter Q2 2014
Prisma has purchased the sculpture “biche”, created by Luxembourg artist Laure Mackel.
Biche, or bibiche, how we call her, fits well into the Prisma office and the team.
She is beautiful, with just a touch of pink. She is black and white with an open-eyed vision. She is upright with a little extra. She is all ears and you can rely on her to take your worries away by putting a smile on your face.
A “Méekranz” is a wreath made of fresh foliage, weaved by the village youth each year on 1st May.
The ingredients for a successful Méekranz are:
- 1 local pub
- 1 friendly landlord
- 1 sleepless night
- 1 hangover
- 1 tractor
- 1 group of people who can hold their drink
- 2 crates of beer (minimum)
- Oh…and fresh spring foliage
Whilst some hit the streets with the trade unions for their traditional 1st May marches, others go into the wild. In some places the youth meet at midnight, have a barbecue and camp in the forest. In other places, the craftsmen only meet in the morning when the sun comes up.
Until recently my brother and his friends made a wreath for their local “Duerfkessel”. After collecting a couple of beer crates from the barkeeper, they would all drive to the nearest forest where they’d set-up their campsite. As of 8:00 in the morning, the teams would drive around with their tractor, collecting leafage. The first gathering at the collecting camp was at 9:00 when the morning aperitif was served and the first group would start with the wreath weaving, whilst the others would go on a second round to find more material from Mother Nature.
Méekränz come in all sizes, in their case they did not fiddle about with a little one that you can hang on your door; they would go for the full arch, which would fit around the whole door frame! The wreath craftsmanship was never about competition; however it is fair to say that the Café with the biggest Méekranz obviously has the best customers.
Once the bottles in the crates were empty and the wreath had been completed, it was loaded onto the tractor and taken to the pub. The tractor would drive through the whole village, applauded by the locals and accompanied by the marching band.
Once they all arrived at the Duerfkessel, the leafage arch was installed and the landlord offered a round of schnapps to all the villagers.
Now that the hard work was out of the way, the festivities started. The barbecue was set-up, the beer barrel was tapped, the brass band played; and drinking games were played (such us hitting a nail into a piece of wood with a hollow hammer). The Village Fête had been officially launched for young and old!
The tradition of bundling fresh foliage together in a wreath, started long before May 1st has been known as the International Labor Day. Like so many, this tradition also goes back to a heathen feast during which blessed herbs and palm branches were scattered through the houses and each room was sprinkled with holy water, in order to keep the evil spirits at bay. Since it also marked the start of the sunny season it was frequently doused by a hearty drinking session with May-wine.
Keep your eyes open and see if you’ll be able to spot some Méekranz outside your “Duerfcafé”.
On Easter Monday the famous “Eemaischen” will take place, both in Nospelt and on the fish market in Luxembourg City. The name “Eemaischen” goes back to the city of “Emmaus” in which, according to the bible, Jesus appeared to some of the apostles after his death.
In the past on Easter Monday the Potter’s Guild has always been celebrating its guild festivities in the St. Michaels Church on the fish market (“Fëschmaart”) in Luxembourg. After church service, they organized a market where they were selling their pottery. In respect to a letter form 1827 it is believed that already then, the potters were selling the famous “Pëckvillercher” (whistles in the shape of a bird); although the “Pëckvillercher” of then probably had nothing to do with the ones that we know today.
At the beginning of the 20th Century the market became more a caboodle market rather than a pottery and craft market. In 1914 the last living potter died in Nospelt, where the potter’s guild existed since 1458.
The “Eemaischen” as we know it today exists since 1937. It was the “Comité Alstad” that decided to revive the tradition and for the first time in 20 years they were selling whistles again that were entirely made in Luxembourg. Since 1957 the market is also held in Nospelt where every year collectors can buy “Pëckvillercher”, with the stamp of the place and date of the whistle’s origin, are sold.
We wish you a Happy Easter!
Have you seen the signs on the side of the road showing cartoon children „Mir gin klibberen”? “Klibberen” means “to rattle” or “to clatter”.
Between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, the children who generally are altar boys, walk the streets of their village, clattering their ratchets 3 times a day. In the morning at 6:00 they shout “d’Muergesklack laut” (the morning bell rings), at 12:00 lunch time “d’Mettesklack laut” (the noon time bell rings) and in the evening at 6:00 “d’Owesklack laut” (the evening bell rings).
With this sound (or their noise), the children replace the church bells during 4 days, as these have gone to Rome to confess their sins….says the vernacular.
“Klibberen” is a very old tradition that originated in the Alsace and along the Moselle in France and Luxembourg. For Easter the children will be rewarded for their efforts with Easter eggs that the people offer them to thank them for having replaced the church bells. The children in return thank their donors by singing:
„D'Ouschtere sinn do, d'Ouschtere sinn do.
Gitt eis déi Eeër eraus, déi rout, déi wäiss, déi blo.“
(Easter is here, Easter is here
Give us the eggs, the red ones, the white ones and those in blue)
Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Sunday) takes place 20 days before Easter, which is half through lent. In Luxembourg we therefore also call it Halleffaaschtensonndeg (half lent Sunday); this year it will be on 30th March.
At the beginning of spring, when positive emotions resurface, the boy gives a pretzel to the girl who he has laid his eyes on. The feelings for her must be as big and as sweet as the almond pastry that he is about to offer her. In case the feelings are mutual and the girl is interested, she will offer him a Chocolate Egg in return, on Easter Sunday. This means that it will leave her 20 days to consider her options…
The same rule applies for existing relationships where the man will offer his sweetheart a pretzel to re-emphasise his tender feelings for her.
In a leap year, it is the other way around and the girls take the lead by offering a pretzel to the boy.
Until the middle of the 20th century this was a local custom only, popular around the rivers Moselle and Sûre. Nowadays it is celebrated by everyone in Luxembourg.
It is said that long time ago, the custom imposed that couples who had married during the previous year, offer a pretzel to all the guests who had managed to receive a part of the bride’s garter…
During my youth when I was a member of the scouts, spring fewer started earlier for us…. I was told that if a boy was interested in a girl, he would blacken her face at Buergbrennen, with the cooled down ashes. This initial act then marked the beginning of the mating season which lead to Bretzels, Easter Eggs and ended up in marriage!
Although men should not need a reminder to offer something sweet to their honeys, it’s a great tradition for us women….. and the baker trade for that matter.
Prisma Newsletter Q1 2014
Find out why half lent is a special day for all women in Luxembourg
Discover how easy it is to proofread your fund prospectus on the tube, on your way to work
Get the latest updates on SEPA and other regulations
Uncover how your KIID could become a PRIP
What to do in Luxembourg? It’s all right here
Just click on the link to discover it all: Prisma Newsletter Q1 2014
Buergbrennen takes place on the Sunday after carnival, which is also the first day of lent. It is a tradition in Luxembourg, the German borderland and in some places in France, where it is called “Fête des Brandons”. Typically it is organised by the local section of the boyscouts, fire brigade or youth club.
Although the word suggests that one would burn down a castle, it is actually a cross that’s going up in flames. The bonfire symbolically represents the end of winter. According to legend, the quality of the fire is supposed to be a good indicator for the farmers as to how the beginning of summer will be.
In my youth I was a scout and Buergbrennen was the one major event for my local group in Neudorf; we took weeks to organise it. The preparations started at the beginning of January when we would collect the old Christmas trees from the pavements outside the houses. Together with wooden pallets, these conifers were one of the main ingredients for our wooden construction.
In addition to the cross, we were building stalls on the “Buergplatz”, in which we’d prepare and sell all kinds of food and beverage such as the local “Mettwurscht” (sausage), “Ierzebulli” (pea soup) and of course hot mulled wine.
During the whole of Saturday, whilst we were busy building, some locals would visit the construction site and offer us drinks and cake and sometimes Schnapps, which helped us to stay warm. There was a lot of competition between the different groups and we were always worried that somebody could prematurely set fire to our Buerg during the night, so we stood guard until the sun came up.
On the actual Buergsonndeg, we would meet early in the morning and with our decorated cart we’d take the streets of Neudorf and walk from house to house collecting money and inviting people to the bonfire night. At the back of the wagon we’d hung up a straw man, which would be fixated to the cross that same night, before it was lit. I was always told that the scarecrow was representing carnival which ended with the beginning of lent and hence had to be burnt together with winter.
In some villages they organise torchlight processions to set the “Buerg” on fire; others follow the tradition that the newly married couple of the village will start the fire.
According to experts the word “Buerg” has nothing to do with today’s meaning of the word “castle”. Some sources say the word defers from the Latin word “comburo” which means “to burn”. If that’s the case, the tradition would be related to the new-year celebrations in the antique Rome, which were held on the 1st March, the first day of the New Year in the antique Rome.
Whatever the meaning and the origin, Buergbrennen is another fine tradition; you get together with your neighbours for dinner, around a nice big fire, with a drink in your hand… honestly what more can we ask for on a cold Sunday evening?
Everybody at Prisma S.A. is saddened about the news of this badly maltreated cat and shocked about the sickness of some people. With a sense of deep powerlessness and severe anger, we have decided to, at least, support the SPA Differdange financially. If you would like to do the same please make your donations to LU62 0026 1161 8590 0000
It is child's play to raise thousands of euro to help make the dreams of suffering children come true.
It was that time of the year again….
Actually it was in October when I first started wondering what we’d do as a year-end company gift for our clients. To me it was clear that, just like last year, I wanted to support a charity again because only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.
The general outline as to what we could do, formed rapidly in my head and when I presented my idea to the team, everybody was immediately excited about it. The Prisma Christmas Quiz was born! More than a traditional game, we wanted to launched a year-end quiz for our clients that they could play online. The theme was “1 EURO, 10 QUESTIONS, 100 SECONDS TO AIM FOR THE MOON”; practically it meant that they had to answer 10 questions within 100 seconds and for each correct answer we would donate 1 EUR for charity.
We knew instantly that this year we wanted to raise money for the charity “Make-a-Wish Luxembourg”. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. In any case, and as touched as we were by these children’s stories, we wanted to make it a fun game for our clients to ensure that we would raise as much money as possible.
At the beginning of November we’ve sent our first teaser email to clients informing them that this year “we wanted to make dreams come true”. The attention getter was well received and everybody was curious to find out what was behind the mysterious message.
In the background we prepared the questions for the quiz. A couple of weeks after the teaser had been sent, we emailed the actual quiz to our contacts and allowed them a whole month to take part and answer as many questions as possible in 100 seconds. Mid-December the result was available and we were chuffed to see that EUR 3,240.00 had been raised.
A few years ago, when I had first been approached by a friend, to become a Club 100 member of the Make-a-Wish charity, I didn’t have to think about it twice. I instantly knew that I wanted to support them. Nothing however prepared me for the stories that I was about to discover and the wishes that had been fulfilled. Albeit happy stories, it broke my heart to see what these children and their families had to go through.
At Prisma everybody feels strongly about giving something back to society and we are happy and proud about our achievement. The simple act of generosity gives you wings as there is no better feeling than spreading joy and happiness. So instead of giving individual gifts to our clients this year, we have let 3240 stars shine in the eyes of children.
This is without a doubt the most heart-warming gift we've ever given.
Carole Miltgen – CEO Prisma S.A.