From the beginning of December, streets and store windows in all major cities are richly illuminated and decorated. Christmas trees, in all their glitter, adorn public squares. Out-door Christmas markets throughout the country attract many shoppers. French is the official language, German is taught in schools, and English is also widely spoken. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic.
Most people in Luxembourg celebrate Christmas Eve with family and friends. Many attend Midnight Mass, after which the family gathers for supper consisting sometimes of a typical Luxembourg winter menu: black-pudding with mashed potatoes and apple sauce.
The Midnight Mass in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maure in Clervaux (a small picturesque Ardennes town) is of great renown and has been televised in recent years.
Clubs and associations also organize Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities. Some cities produce Nativity plays, with children as actors, others give concerts in the afternoon of December 25th. In some villages, these concerts are followed by a Christmas tree auction, the profits of which are given to charity organizations.
There is no Santa Claus in Luxembourg at Christmas time, however "St. Nicolas Day" is celebrated on December 6th. On evenings - one week - before this date, children put their slippers in front of their bed-room doors expecting them to be filled with a small gift by St. Nicolas during the night. On the eve of December 6th, children place a plate on the kitchen or dining-room table which St. Nicolas fills with sweets and gifts overnight. St. Nicolas also pays visits to children in schools.