Thursday, August 1, 2013

Waves of Happiness


My roommate and I share something wonderful: every once in awhile we’ll feel just immersed in a happiness wave. They come unbidden and not often, nor are they explainable as to why then or there, they just appear.

I had one yesterday as I left the mountains for the trek home to celebrate the Swiss National Holiday August 1st.

After the cold and rain of Monday, followed by a general clearing out of clouds and bad weather on Tuesday, Wednesday was a brilliant day: the greens were greener, the blues as blue as they’ll ever be – everything was shiny and seemingly new.

Then today – the Swiss National Holiday: it was in 1891 that the date of Swiss National day was first decided upon – August 1 (the chosen date of August 1st harks back to summer of 1291 when three cantons bonded together, not as a country, but in a pact of mutual support should they be attacked by the reigning Habsburgs).

Then, the Swiss not being particularly rapid when it comes to many things, took over a hundred years before running a vote to actually give themselves the day off. Following the vote in September 1993, the day became an official national holiday in 1994.
 
Celebrations are similarly low-key with a gathering of the community, the reading of the pact and a bonfire. Often children carry lanterns (and yes, some still have real candles in them) and parade around the village.  It is a very special sight to be on a boat in the middle of some small lake in Switzerland’s interior and see the bonfires on all the surrounding hillsides.
So happy vacation to all of you wherever you are – enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

La Batiaz Bridge, Martigny
Chalet, Les Marécottes, VS
Lac Léman just out of St.Gingolph

August 1 decorations