May Day in Begnins (VD)

Begnins

Second Sunday in May

The return of the month of May has always been a time of rejoicing and celebrations, marked by special customs in different regions. In Begnins, such a local custom has been preserved for centuries. It is now a festival which is entirely reserved to children.

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The festival begins with the children collecting gifts on Saturday morning. They go from door to door singing songs. In return, they receive gifts like eggs, sugar, flour, etc. - all the necessary ingredients to make traditional pastries. On Saturday afternoon, flowers are gathered to weave a crown for the May Queen and the May King, two seven-year-olds, chosen by drawing lots. They are solemnly crowned on Sunday morning and in the afternoon lead the procession and band through the streets of the village. All the children eagerly await teatime, when they will finally receive some of the traditional pastries. The festivities also include games and entertainment; they end with the release of balloons.

Although this tradition has lost some of its former ritualistic nature, it is still practiced in Begnins and a few other villages in the canton, much to the delight of the participating children.

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