Fête de l’Escalade: December 11-12

Casharelle Bonard in 6th grade chorus clued me in on festival celebrated in Geneva, Switzerland where she used to live and asked if I’d share a little about it with you all.

Every year, the Swiss celebrate the defeat of a surprise attack on Geneva by the French Duke of Savoy (Charles Emmanuel I) in 1602.  According to legend, Catherine Cheynel who lived with her husband and 14 children above the Gate of Geneva seized a large cauldron of boiling soup and poured it on the top of the attackers.  According to legend, this caused such a commotion that the citizens of the city rose up and defeated their attackers.

Every year on Fête de l’Escalade, schools serve vegetable soup to students and families, students go door to door singing for money, there is a parade through town and teenagers participate in a mock fight in which they throw flour, eggs, and shaving cream at each other in the central square of Geneva (which she found really funny!).

Here is a video showing some of the sights and sounds of the festival including a song that tells the story of Fête de l’Escalade.  Enjoy!