Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't Get Burned! Rules for a Swiss Parade

To attend the Chienbäse parade in Liestal, there are a few rules (we are in Switzerland after all) that you must abide by. These rules have been translated courtesy of Google Translate and commented upon courtesy of yours truly:

-Come early! (Especially if you don't want front row seats!)

-Oops, sparks! Wear a hat and appropriate old clothes made of natural materials. (Thanks, Switzerland. I wore my Land's End bright blue coat from 1988 and it got holes burned through it. This is sort of sad because neon blue was just coming back in style. But no matter, the coat was an XXL anyhow. Next time I'll wear a metal colander on my head. I noticed those are all the rage at this event).

-No children under 6 years of age and animals in the vicinity of the parade. (But children are allowed to participate in the parade by carrying flaming broomsticks on their shoulders).

-People with health complaints, and slaw-walkers will be discouraged from attending and we recommend the direct transmission of Tele Basel. (I don't know what a slaw-walker is, but I do know that this parade will leave you blowing ash out your nose for at least, let's see 15 hours after the fact. If you don't want dirty Kleenex, watch it on TV).

-Make enough distance to the fire wagon and Chienbäseträgern. (This will happen naturally as you avoid getting burned. Unless you're trying to grill a sausage. Then you don't care.)

-There is no road crossing during the procession. (The road is covered in confetti, flaming logs, and ash. Covering a flaming parade route with paper confetti is not discussed as a fire hazard because the whole point of the event is to have a fire.)

-Keep an escape route free. (But keep in mind the beer tent is already full).

-The burning of fireworks is prohibited. (But cigarettes and cigars are encouraged).

-People with claustrophobia should not watch! (Those who do not want a face full of ash are also encouraged to stay home.)

-And remember: You live with the move on their own responsibility in the minds of all the dangers that may arise from the fire. The organizer disclaims all liability for damages due to careless behavior, and by flying sparks! (Sorry, Americans, no lawsuits will be honored. Now go home to your "this item may be hot" coffee-cup country.)


London City Mum said...

Ah yes Google translate - immaginative at the best of times.

I remember similar events from my youth in Luzern, things that nowadays would set UK health and safety people back with palpitations at the mere thought.

Children carrying lit candles with paper 'wax-catchers' anyone? Hello? Fire and paper? Oh yes, and wearing 1970s synthetic clothing as well while you are at it.....


Chantal said...

Ah yes, everything as a child in the U.S. that you learned was bad is celebrated at events like this. But I have to say, I was honestly fearing for my life a few times during the parade. Next time I'll be like the locals--in the back row instead of the front!

Melania said...

Brave woman! Speaking of lawsuits, I'm convinced people would be more considerate here (Zürich) and drivers would slow down & stop driving on sidewalks, if lawsuits were a part of daily life - not to the extent they have seeped into US culture. But a little fear from repercussions of being dangerous to others is not a bad thing.

I was amazed people burn real candles on their Christmas trees, with babies and toddlers crawling and running around. It was also wonderful to see that kids are capable of following rules and not set the house on fire.

Chantal said...

I was also surprised to find candles at the check-in for Swiss at the airport over the holiday. The Swiss love fire!

The lawsuit thing has ruined American society in many ways. In Switzerland, I find that people generally take responsibility for their actions. If they fall down on the ice, for example, they don't go suing the city.

I haven't noticed the bad drivers so much, I find they usually stop for pedestrians. And I would think a speeding ticket based on a percentage of your salary would slow people down.

Lori said...

So there's no hope of hiding in the beer tent? Damn. I think I'll watch the parade from the pub. ;)

Chantal said...

The beer tent has no view anyway. But then again, maybe that's a good thing.


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