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Echternach Hopping Procession stamps from Luxembourg

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The Luxembourg Post has issued two stamps dedicated to the Hopping Procession, an example of intangible cultural heritage of humanity added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on 16 November 2010. It is seen as the remnant of an ancient Celtic ritual christianised by Irish-Scot monks or by St. Willibrord himself.

Known worldwide for the words "three steps forward, two steps back, like the Echternach procession", this tradition has survived for centuries despite several bans. From now on, it will be protected by a "Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage", ratified unanimously by the Chamber of Deputies, Luxembourg's parliament.

It continues to be supported enthusiastically by the pilgrims, notably young people, who dance through the streets of the ancient medieval city to reach the tomb of St. Willibrord and thus express their Christian joy and support for a century-old tradition.

The scarf represented in the two stamps is used to align dancers during the procession. It has become the symbol of a procession that brings together pilgrims beyond borders and social barriers in a spirit of enthusiasm and cultural identity.

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