Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Swiss National Holiday

This year it fell on a Monday – a Monday after the traditional July/August swap of vacationers. The volunteer firemen of my small village decided to change the formula and hold the event during the day as opposed to an evening event so at 10 a.m. I duly arrived for the beginning of the festivities. At that point they were set up and there were even a couple of my friends already.

Very un-Swiss like though the welcoming by Alphorn players didn’t start until a half hour later and the mayor’s speech another half hour later.

"Our" Alphorn players - there are 6'000 in Switzerland!

With the crowd picking up the traditional bonfire was lit – impressive whether day or night. There was a light breeze blowing, which, although it made it lovely for those of us attending, didn’t make it quite as easy on ash and fire control: the bonfire had been made smaller on purpose as the intention was to grill meats and sausages on the remaining coals.

before the burning
into the fire

the play of water through and behind

There were games for the children such as “throwing the fireman’s boot”: hilarious to watch some of the 2-year-olds giving it a go; roll-the-bale; tin-can toss; kite flying and a very clever one where the children “pumped” water from a bucket throw a common garden hose to try and fill another bucket – firemen indeed.

The Banners on the booths were done by the elementary school

More banners

This lot needed some help to start the bail rolling

Lunch was the traditional: grilled meats, sausages, raclette (our other national cheese dish besides fondue), and there were also salads and desserts – although both were on the far end and many of us didn’t discover them until it was too late.

For the adults there was a tombola – and, of course, I actually won two prizes, both of which I already had. But this was during my absence as I delegated S. to check my tickets as I needed to be home preparing for my traditional 1st of August cocktail party.

Had a lovely lot of friends drop in, had even more great food brought along and the conversations, people and atmosphere were more than pleasant – one of the better celebrations.

That was all topped off with a few of us heading up to the village just beyond us to watch their fireworks and fire (rushed off with just my cell phone and keys so no pictures although it was beyond beautiful: I still carry in my heart the glitter and sparkle of the cinders rising into a dark sky.

Clean-up and thus August 1 was only finished for me a half hour ago with the putting away of the last glass. Now I’m off to pick up my Syrian friends – more partying – more good food – the pleasures of summer are just continuing.

One of the alphorn players is one of my coffee buddies so guess who got to pretend - fun!

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