It appears the Swiss festival planners’ gas tank of festival ideas ran low this week, judging by the curious menage of celebrations going on in our town square on Saturday. It appeared to be a combination midwife, car sale, marching band, sunglass fashion show complete with ear-blasting music, red carpet and velvet ropes, plus a picnic event, but hey, who am I to criticize?
The Swiss are as big on open-air events as the Spanish, which is to say: A lot. The tone is slightly different with the Spanish going for huge religious festivities that always involve marching through town carrying a massive float of a statue of a saint – often on the shoulders of men.
For the less Bible-literate, this harkens back to the Judaic Ark of the Covenant, a gold-plated acacia wood chest topped with angel figures said to contain the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, which had to always be carried by men, never pulled by a beast of burden or heaven forbid, put on a flatbed truck (no one knows where it is now, so it is safe from the flatbed truck indignity). Not all Spanish parades are carried on the backs of men, of course, but enough are that it keeps the Moroccans from invading because who wants to go to battle against guys who carry half-tonne gold-plated saints on their backs as a leisure activity?
But I drift from my topic. As we passed through the square, we saw a woman giving a rather solemn presentation on how to assist in childbirth to a man who did not look like he was up to a career in medicine. We hoped going through this presentation did not certify the student for anything, but we can not be sure of this, because if the Swiss love anything, it is to make sure everyone is certified in any activity, however mundane it may be.