The Candlemas lights

2 February is Candlemas day, which takes its name from the latin festa candelorum, meaning festival of candles, and therefore of light. The festival dates back to the Roman Empire, when altar candles were burnt to banish bad spirits and protect homes and fields.
In Luxembourg, this festival is known as Liichtmëssdag (“day of the blessing of the candles”), and children go from house to house bidding health and happiness. Carrying a paper lantern they have made themselves, they scamper from one house to the next, begging to the tune of Saint-Blaise – “Léiwer Herrgottsblieschen, gëff äis Speck an Ierbessen…”, in a nod to the way in which people used to beg for lard, peas and other edibles in days gone by, although this tradition has evolved somewhat and the children are now given sweets, fruit or money.