Monday, March 7, 2011

Free Beer for Confetti Victims

Yesterday, Nick and I began our afternoon by squeezing onto a train from Ettelbruck to Diekirch, squished between a green bug, a pirate, a mushroom lady and a giant ape (which was wisely sans head for the stuffy ride). We were on our way to the 32nd annual Diekirch Cavalcade, a parade of floats, marching bands and majorettes that would wind through the streets of town to celebrate Carnival season.

Incognito at the cavalcade...
The streets were packed with costumed revelers by the time we arrived at around 1:45pm. The big parade was scheduled to start at 2:30pm from the other side of town, so people were already staking their spot to have a good view of the procession as it went by. Nick and I did not dress in costume, so I thought we might be in for a long and messy afternoon when someone shot a good dose of silly string at me as we walked into the center part of town… So, I ducked into the first costume shop we found and purchased two red clown noses and my very own can of silly string (just in case). Now, we were prepared!

Wandering through the pedestrian area, we passed a crew of pirates guarding their pirate ship, a clever contraption designed to cool and carry their alcohol for the day’s festivities. And then we saw nearly a dozen men dressed as Superman hard at work on their six packs - of beer, that is - which they were taking turns pushing around in a grocery cart. (Hey, drinking your beer straight from the cart beats having to load it into your trunk after leaving the grocery store!) So, we knew it was time to hit the beer stand like everyone else and indulge in a little bit of the town’s namesake beer: Diekirch.

The parade eventually wound its way around town and made it to where we were standing, on the last leg of the parade route. I suppose the parade is like any small town parade one might see in America, with impressive and painstakingly designed floats, many pulled by giant tractors. The people in the parade danced, waved to the crowds, and threw candy. But what set the Carnival cavalcade experience apart from a regular old parade was the other item being passed out by people on many of the floats: beer. Yes, beer! (It was “candy” for the adult crowd, I suppose!) Some floats passed plastic cups of Diekirch beer by hand, others gently tossed entire cans of Diekirch into the crowds. One clever float passed out beer via a fishing pole-like contraption that lowered four full plastic cups to the crowd at a time, and was then reeled back in for a reload. Lots of fun!

And when we weren’t busy dodging the gobs of confetti that people in the crowd were throwing at each other, we navigated through blizzards of shredded paper that were propelled via air pump hoses atop several of the floats. Which is great fun until you realize how long it’s going to take to pull every tiny shard of confetti out of your hair and clothing!

In all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Carnival in Luxembourg seems pretty tame compared to what you’ve probably also heard about our German neighbor, Cologne. Entire families were out and about yesterday and people of all ages donned funny, scary, clever or just plain silly costumes. And while the beer was flowing, we couldn’t recall seeing one single person acting out of control, let alone drunk (though I suppose it’s possible that we may have left before things went downhill). I would absolutely recommend any of the other upcoming Luxembourg cavalcades for anyone looking for a Sunday afternoon activity with or without kiddos in tow.

I never did end up pulling the silly string out of my purse, but I’m planning to pack that and our clown noses for the cavalcades in Esch-sur-Alzette (Mar. 27) and Remich (April 3), so I’m happy to be prepared! News reports today said that the 2011 Diekirch Cavalcade was the largest ever, at 30,000 people. I’m glad that I was counted among them – even though I am sure I’ll be picking confetti from my purse and coat pockets for the next three months…

For more Carnival reading right here on Luxemblog, check out my blog post about cheap trains to Cologne (Köln), about seasonal pastries for Carnival season, or read my roundup of Carnival events in Luxembourg.


  1. All your pictures and blogs really make the US seem so boring!
    These Carnivals all look like so much fun! Little Jesse is excited about dressing up in costume and going to one! :)

  2. Oh please - there's plenty of boring stuff here, too...I just don't put that on the blog! But I totally can't wait for little Jesse to dress up for his first Cavalcade!! I'll even buy him his first clown nose and can of silly string.

  3. Diekirch was a blast, wasn't it? This was our second year and we enjoyed it even more.

    Glad to see you are hitting the Lux highlights!

  4. It was a lot of fun, Anita! And a week later, I am STILL finding confetti all over our apartment!

  5. I used to live in the German town of Lahr, in the Black Forest. I wonder if your picture of the Lahrer Puppenkiste is any relation.