For the third year in succession today we attended the firey Chienbäsen festivities in the Swiss city of Liestal - close to Basel . 19:15 sharp and the cortege commenced through the the gate entrance to the Old Town / Altstadt. Illuminated lanterns, Waggis and their drummers process through the town to the applause of the crowd.
As in previous years, we perched ourselves on the bridge at Rathausstrasse. Shortly after the cortege had passed, the walls of the buildings reflected the bonfires onto the crowds who cheered raucously.
As the bonfires and burning torches were carried through the main street, the sweat and strain on the mens face was apparent. The heat from the fires is phenonemal and a welcome relief from the otherwise fresh evening air. The heat is all the more noticeable when the fires past and the cold sets in once more. Until the next one comes along.
The Chienbäse parade is a proper family affair and, judging from the boy standing next to me, the kids love the music and look forward to the fires. Even if the fires turn out to be too hot - even from the safe distance of daddys shoulders.
Frankly, anywhere else a festival like this would have been banned on health and safety. The Swiss, being a generally sensible bunch, simply brought out the fire brigade and allowed a fine tradition to continue. I'm glad health and safety haven't got their teeth into this fine family event.
Of course, at the end of the cortege the fire brigade is on hand is a pound-type area to ensure that the various bonfires and torches are correctly extinguished.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook