Our intangible heritage goes digital: Digital IKI - Digital Octave

In 2003, UNESCO adopted an important convention to protect and safeguard this rich heritage. The Ministry of Culture of Luxembourg introduced a register for the national intangible heritage in 2007, with four inscriptions a year later: the Éimaischen (Easter Monday), the Octave (pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of Luxembourg for two weeks in May) the Dancing (or Hopping) Procession of Echternach (Tuesday after Whitsunday and since 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) and finally the annual Schueberfouer with its typical Hämmelsmarsch (mid-August to beginning of September).

This year, all these events that usually attract visitors from the Greater Region had to be cancelled. Aware that in times of worries and uncertainty, it is all the more important to keep traditions alive, the Ministry of Culture and the Luxembourg Commission for UNESCO have opted for a digital presentation of these festive events. After "Digital Éimaischen", they will stage a digital version of the Octave, the annual pilgrimage in honour of the Virgin Mary, patron of the City and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, together with the Maertchen. The partners for this project are the iHist Institute of the University of Luxembourg, the Photothèque of the City of Luxembourg, the Archdiocese, the CNA and the Luxemburger Wort.

Since this is a living, interactive project, personal photos and souvenirs can be shared with the hashtag #DigitalIKI. Videos and photographs, story maps, interactive quizzes and little-known facts about the Octave will be online from May 2nd on the website of the Intangible Heritage Luxembourg (www.iki.lu) and the social media channels of the Luxembourg Commission for UNESCO.

We often associate heritage with material possessions, yet we inherit so much more. We keep customs, traditions, practices, songs, recipes and rituals - be they festive or religious - alive over centuries, passing them on from generation to generation. The skill required to build dry stone walls has come to us from Antiquity, serving coffee is a time-honoured tradition in the Arab world and in the Turkish culture, while Kyrgyzstan's Akyn, epic storytellers, have been around for centuries, just like the Schueberfouer in Luxembourg, incidentally.

These customs and traditions are kept alive by local communities; they invariably leave their own marks, but transmit a heritage that, although intangible, is part of their identity and gives them a sense of continuity.

Schedule (subject to change)

2 mai: History of the Mäertchen

10 mai: Pilgrims from Luxembourg and the Greater Region

3 mai: Patron Saints Quiz

13 mai: The Glacis Chapel

6 mai: The history of the Octave Pilgrimage

17 mai: Story Map about the Closing Procession


Press release by the Ministry of Culture / Immateriellt Kulturierwen zu Lëtzebuerg / Commission luxembourgeoise pour la coopération avec l'UNESCO

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