Instead of Groundhog Day or Imbolc, today is Liichtmëssdaag in Luxembourg. Children walk from house to house with paper lanterns on sticks, singing a traditional song. Loosely translated, the song begins: “Dear Blessed Blaise, give us Bacon and Peas.” Today, that means that the children receive candy from the houses they visit, Halloween-style.
In the old version of the song, a later section goes: “Let the young live, let the old die.” That’s been altered for our more gentle age, to a similar rhyme that translates to: “Let the young live, let the old live next door.”
I remember the Feast of Saint Blaise from my Catholic primary school, but it was an unsettling ritual that involved neither bacon nor candy. Instead, a priest would stick two candles on each child’s throat, and the teachers’ explanations were always vague and menacing.