Another year living in beautiful Geneva, and another Promotion. Promotion is an event that the Swiss do so very very right. At the end of June, each village dresses itself up in flags and prepares for an evening celebrating the promotion of each of its' students from one grade to the next.
The Mairie, which in essence is an executive of village elders, had bestowed a gift on each of the kids during the last week of school; a very generous 30 CHF coupon to a bookstore. Then at 4:30 on a hot afternoon last Saturday, all of the school children lined up behind their respective teachers and marched behind two bands, the aforementioned village elders, a group of ladies in traditional dress, and the local volunteer pompiers/sapeurs (firemen). They proudly walked the length of the main street through our village to the claps and cheers of the local population.
Following the parade, we all gathered on a village green crowded with bouncy castles, mini-roller coasters, barbapapa (cotton candy), popcorn, candy, and drink stands, tents lined with tables, benches, a dance floor, and a live band. The pompiers/sapeurs supplied barbequed saucisses, frites, salad, wine, beer, and ice cream.
It was an incredibly convivial and communal atmosphere. The kids scattered to play on the rides and games, and the adults mingled, chatted, and caught up on each other's summer plans. This year, we even had a well-attended anglophone table populated by Canadians, Americans, South Africans, Romanians, Finns and Norwegians. We are a slice of the international flavour of Geneva.
Promotion has been one of my favorite Swiss experiences, particularly in our small village. It has been a wonderful way for J to bid adieu to another year of school, to dwell on the friendships, and important moments achieved during the year, to be reminded of the importance of school in his life, and to build excitement for the next chapter.
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