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Familienabenteuer
Greg  |  Nov 21, 2018

A night-time adventure from Suze...

 

It’s not often that I think about turnips.  It seems to be a vegetable that has been forgotten about, largely overshadowed by the beautiful bright orange pumpkins that are readily available in Autumn.  However, in Switzerland there is a lovely tradition that brings back turnips into our lives.

In November local villages in Switzerland have their annual “Räbenlichterumzug”, or Turnip Light Procession.  People carve designs into turnips, light them up and carry them along in a parade.  The most famous of these lantern processions is in Richterswil, near Zürich, where apparently the first parade took place around 1860.  Symbolically the parade gives thanks to the last harvest of the season before Winter – it is said that women came from the Swiss mountain villages carrying Räbenlichter for warmth and light so they could find their way through the dark to the thanksgiving service. 

 Lantern Parade Healthy Family Adventures Ketchup

A Swiss neighbour described to me the process of making the “Räbeliechtli” as the Swiss call the small lanterns that children carve with their parents or at school.  Initially I thought my neighbour was referring to carving lantern designs into ravens, as the German word for Raven is “Raben”.  I was very confused until my neighbour showed me the lanterns, and I learnt that “Räben” is the Swiss dialect term for turnips. 

With this background knowledge in mind, I was looking forward to my daughter’s childcare centre’s annual lantern procession.  Here there are no turnips – and definitely no ravens – but paper or plastic lanterns.  They are safer and easier to construct for really young children, so the lantern parade is the young children’s adaption of the traditional Räbenlichterumzug. 

When we arrived we saw the beautiful lanterns aglow with a battery-operated light being dangled in the air by the children with sticks tied to the lanterns.  We weaved our way through the illuminated crowd and found our two-year-old daughter.  Her lantern was a beautiful pink owl with a glowing belly! 

 Lantern Parade Ketchup Healthy no added sugar

It was lovely seeing all the lantern lights gleaming in the semi-dark streets and walking through mushy golden autumn leaves that had fallen to the ground.  At the end of the procession we enjoyed some Grittibänze with a cup of warm apple cider and the children sang the following song in homage to their beautiful lanterns:

Ich gaa mit miner Laterne und mini Laterne mit mir.

Am Himmel lüchted d’Sterne, da unde lüchted miir.

De Güggel chräit und d’ Chatz miaut, eh eh eh

la bimmel, la bummel, la bum.

 

We also had the opportunity to chat to some parents who had tried Connie’s Kitchen Ketchup; it was great to hear how much they and their children enjoy it. 

With her energy levels refuelled by a few Grittibänze, our daughter clearly didn’t want the night to end although it was well past her bedtime.  Such reluctance to leave can only mean that it was a nice evening with Swiss friends celebrating local customs. 

We’ll all look forward to it again next year. 

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