When I recently attended several traditional events in Switzerland that have their origin in the Middle Ages, I found myself thinking about the values behind traditions, and how they contribute to the modern-day success of events such as the Sechseläuten in Zürich or the Appenzell Landsgemeinde.
While both of these traditional events came out of society’s attempt at the time to organize the community in political and social terms, what makes these traditions so successful today goes beyond simply honoring or showcasing their founders’ principles and achievements.
The word “tradition” derives from the Latin tradere, meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.
Doubtlessly, traditions cultivate a sense of stability and belonging. They bring people together and facilitate connection with like-minded others, acting as a guiding force in individual lives and society as a whole to varying degrees.
For traditions to be so enduringly and enthusiastically upheld however, – as these richly endowed Swiss customs are – surely requires an infusion of new life along the way. In form of education and insight, discussion and development, adjustment and growth.
What I took away attending these events was not only more knowledge and greater understanding, but a sense of respect and appreciation for the people, their lives and the region. I see with “new eyes”.
It also made me pause in my tracks and reflect on what meaningful traditions mean to me personally. Ideally, they serve the people who uphold them by connecting them with each other, by supporting them and by enriching their lives.
And that is also what I’m hoping that you will gain from reading the articles on this website. I welcome and look forward to your comments and feedback in the spirit of continuous improvement and enrichment of Swiss Wanderlust for you. Thank you!