Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A stamp printed in Switzerland shows Regional Folk Customs with inscriptions "Escalade, Geneva", from the series "Folk Customs”.
L'Escalade, or Fête de l'Escalade (from escalade, the act of scaling defensive walls) is an annual festival held in December in Geneva, Switzerland, celebrating the defeat of the surprise attack by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy during the night of 11–12 December 1602. The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 12 December or the closest weekend.
For years, the duke coveted the wealth of the city-state, which was not a member of the Swiss Confederation. When Charles Emmanuel came to the throne of the House of Savoy in 1580, he longed to make Geneva his capital north of the Alps and crush Protestantism. Pope Clement VIII offered encouragement; in 1602 he appointed as Catholic bishop of Geneva Francis de Sales, an effective preacher who had recently been successful in re-Catholicizing the Chablais district of Savoy on the south side of Lake Geneva.
Although the armed conflict actually took place after midnight, in the early morning on December 12, celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on December 11 or the closest weekend. Celebrations include a large marmite(cauldron) made of chocolate and filled with marzipan vegetables and candies wrapped in the Geneva colours of red and gold. It is customary for the eldest and youngest in the room to smash the marmite, while reciting, "Ainsi périssent les ennemis de la République! " (Thus perish the enemies of the Republic), referring to how fictional character Mère Royaume poured boiling hot vegetable soup on soldiers climbing up the walls of the city.
Thank you Maria for this interesting FDC.