Escalade Shanghai, a Joyful Celebration of a Swiss Tradition
On the 11th of December 2014, for the second consecutive year, swissnex China, the General Consulate of Switzerland and Swiss Learning organized the celebration of the Escalade in Shanghai. For those of you who don’t know it, the Escalade is the most important cultural event of the city of Geneva each year. With this yearly celebration, the people of Geneva celebrate the victory of their army against the army of the Duke of Savoy who attempted to conquer the city in 1602. Woken up in the middle of the night, Genevans successfully defended their city and their right to freedom.
This year, the event was separated into two parts: afternoon and evening. The afternoon part was a Toy Hack workshop for kids and families, conducted by Leigh-Anne Russell, from Nestworks.
The second part of the evening started at 6:30pm. As guests arrived, the mulled wine and traditional soup (cooked by young people from Geneva in Shanghai) were served. While the “apéro” was going on, about 50 runners braved the cold to run around the block the second “Course de l’Escalade” in Shanghai. In Geneva, this run drains each year an increasing number of people (this year about 37’000 runners). After a short welcome speech by Consul General Alexander Hoffet, guests were treated to a Swiss food buffet composed of many traditional dishes such as raclette, wienerschnietzel, and spatzli. During the night, traditions from Geneva were respected. Two chocolate marmites (pots) were broken by our youngest participant (4 year old) and the Consul General while the audience shouted the usual saying “Ainsi périrent les ennemis de la République” (Traduction: This is how the enemies of the Republic (of Geneva) perished). A little later, the traditional songs of “Ah! La belle Escalade” and “cé què l’aino” were sung by the audience. Last but not least, at the end of the night, two of our Genevan guests led the “Picoulet”, a traditional dance around the fire (this time replaced by a fake one for security reasons).
Overall, this second edition of the Escalade was a successful one. It helped showcase a little bit of Swiss culture to our Chinese audience, but also to regroup the ever growing sino-swiss community in Shanghai. Will you join us for the third edition next year?
– Contributed by Julien Poncet, Junior Project Leader