The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg marked the closing of the Octave on Sunday with a series of traditional events in Luxembourg City including a morning Pontifical Mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg.
Following the mass, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess spoke with members of the clergy and received flowers as they departed. The morning religious ceremony was followed by a gathering of the whole Grand Ducal family in the afternoon for the annual Octave closing procession, in which the statue of the Virgin Mary is escorted through the streets of the capital. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were joined in the procession by Grand Duke Jean, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Princess Alexandra, Prince Louis, and Princes Gabriel and Noah.
In addition to the royal family, representatives of the Government, the Chamber of Deputies, Justice and other institutions of public life took part in the procession alongside faithful pilgrims.
Following an aubade – “a song or instrumental composition concerning, accompanying, or evoking daybreak” – interpreted by the Municipal Harmony Luxembourg-Gasperich, the family then made an appearance on the palace balcony to greet the gathered crowds.
The Octave is a traditional religious festival dating back to 1666 which honours patron saint Our Lady of Luxembourg. Commencing on the third Sunday after Easter and closing with the Octave procession on the fifth Sunday after Easter, the Octave is one of the major annual religious ceremonies in Luxembourg. It sees “the country’s parishes and the faithful from the German Eifel region, the Belgian Luxembourg Province and the French Lorraine embark on a pilgrimage towards Luxembourg in order to celebrate and honour the Virgin Mary, also called Our Lady of Luxembourg.”
During the Octave a statue of Our Lady of Luxembourg is richly dressed and adorned and put in the central choir of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg on a special votive altar.