10 November 2007
Come close, children, and listen to our story...
Many, many years ago villagers across Switzerland would go to church in the evening. During the winter, the evening comes quite early. And before the days of street lamps and flashlights, this would make churchgoing a tad treacherous. Especially when one lives on the side of a mountain, as many people tend to do in Switzerland.
So the inventive women in the Swiss villages looked about and their eyes happened upon the large pile of recently harvested turnips. And they began to think, "What if we could carve out those turnips and make lanterns? Then we wouldn't be at risk of falling off the side of the mountain every time we need to go to church."
And so it was and so it happened.
And that is why, lo these many years later, most of the various villages in the area have Räbenleichtliumzug (Literal Translation: Turnip Lantern Parades). Even though there are plenty of street lamps. Because now it is a Tradition.
And so it is that all of the schoolchildren in the village, along with their parents, will gather in the few days before the parade to carve their turnpis into glowing magical lanterns.
The largest Räbenleichtliumzug in Switzerland, and reportedly all of Europe, is in the nearby town of Richterswil.
Although I won't be showing you pictures from there because, well, it's really windy and there is freezing cold rain out there tonight. Brr!
So instead I will show you photos from the event last night in our small village, when the weather was more hospitable. And the Glühwein (mulled wine) wasn't bad either!