Participation, course of the procession, organisation
Basically, whoever comes to Echternach in a genuine pilgrim’s spirit, is entitled to participate in the procession as singer, worshipper or dancer. They thus express themselves prepared to follow the orders of the security service. Only dancers are allowed to take part in the dancer’s groups. Individual pilgrims and smaller groups don’t need to register. They are inserted in the rows of individual pilgrims in the procession. These gather in the lower abbey yard under the banner “Einzelpilger” (individual pilgrims); they are assembled there by the security service and allotted to the various dancer’s groups. Whorshippers and singers can join the respective groups at the beginning of the procession.
Larger groups wishing to have a fixed place in the procession, should send their motivated application to the organizers before January 1st of the year in question. Address: Willibrordus-Bauverein, Dancing Procession, B. P. 65, L-6401 Echternach.
Music bands and groups are always welcome. On demand the necessary printed music material is sent to them free of charge.
Course of the procession
On the morning of Whit Tuesday at 5.15 a. m., the youg people who took part in the overnight Pax-Christi rally pilgrimage, gather in the Basilica for a eucharistic celebration shaped in their own way.
At 7.30 the pilgrims from the Prüm-Waxweiler area are welcomed by the board of the Willibrordus-Bauverein at the old Sûre-bridge in Echternacherbrück. They had set out in Whit Sunday for a three-day pilgrimage on foot, and are now escorted to the Basilica in procession. Shortly before, pilgrim groups from neighbouring parishes also arrive at the church.
At 8 a. m. there is a concelebrated pontifical mass. From 8.15 the members of the first groups of the dancing procession gather in the honours yard of the former abbey. After the pontifical service, at about nine, the Archbishop of Luxembourg makes a short welcoming speech. After that the procession starts moving, led by singers who recite the Litany of St Willibrord, and the worshipper’s groups from home and abroad. The dancers’ groups follow. There are about 45 of them, placed in rows of five dancers respectively preceding and following a music band. These bands alternatively play the traditional march, so that there is a break for each dancers’ group. At about 1 p. m. the last groups arrive at the Basilica, where a final devotion is celebrated. Subsequently is the possibilty of attending mass.
Organisation is taken care of by the Willibrordus-Bauverein. So called commissaries, identifiable by their white and yellow armbands, organize security; formation, and accompaniment of the individual groups. A list with the position of the groups is sent to the participants in due time. It is also published in the “Luxemburger Wort” on the Saturday before Whitsun, and handed out among the public before the procession. (cf. Agenda)
Traffic is regulated by the police. Private cars are directed to the accessible car parks. Coaches have the possibility to discharge their passengers at the ancien Sûre-bridge or at the bus station, where they can be collected again after the procession.
A bus-shuttle-service takes the visitors from the great parking at the entrance of the town (coming from Luxembourg-city) to the center and back each quarter of an hour between 8 a.m. to 4.p.m.