The Descent of the Cows, and ROW80

For the final installment of the village photos (scroll down to visit Tolochenaz, Rolle, and Morges), I'm featuring St Cergue, up in the Jura mountains, and the descent of the cows!

The yearly desalpe is the descent of the cows from their summer pastures to their winter pastures. The cows are decorated for the event, and there are also lots and lots of very loud bells...

Off to see the cows!
Hmm, these loud bells are less than impressive...
Flags of Switzerland and the canton of Vaud
View from a hill
Haze over Lac Leman

The event is very evocative, as it's a tradition that goes back many hundreds of years. It's lovely to imagine the fathers and grandfathers and many times great-grandfathers of the farmers bringing down the cows every year, from one year to the next. And the grandmothers too! Both men and women farmers were present. I'd love to sit around a farmhouse kitchen, helping to create the decorative wreaths and crowns for the cows.

We came down the mountain afterwards to our own village:

Today is Remembrance Day; the side of the town hall features a mural commemorating the soldiers from the village who fought in WWI and WWII

 Path through the vineyards

Which traditions do you celebrate where you live?


Crystal Collier said…
I love the tradition behind this! I was hoping someone might paint their cow though. Crazy right? I just wanted to see a bright pink cow. Guess that's not exactly humane...
Hi Deniz - I'd love to see the 'desalpe' ... must be lovely - they do tend to do tradition better in the local villages on the continent ... perhaps I'm being unfair to the British. We do pageantry, tradition and culture probably better than most.

We've had some Remembrance Services for our fallen etc ... it always brings out the nostalgia in me ...

Poor Emily - the noise of those bells must have been l-o-u-d ... but she can now throw her cows out of the window I see!

Enjoy your village setting .. especially when the real winter comes - that will be lovely to see .. though you're used to that - coming from Canada.

Lovely photos - cheers Hilary
Cool local shots. A couple of cows look like they are wearing hats. (Like those big fruit-basket style ones.)
Erin Z. said…
How very cool! Love the pics!
Zan Marie said…
I love these pics and the strong taste of local flavor! Emily is a darling! <3
sage said…
A beautiful place. I like the sound of "Remembrance Day" but I suppose in the US our "Remembrance Day" is Memorial Day when we remember those who died verses Veteran Day where we remember all soldiers.
S.P. Bowers said…
I love that they made a festival out of something so ordinary and necessary as moving the cows.

Your daughter is so, so cute!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks all! Yes, I'm finally coming around to catch up on blogs!

I don't remember seeing any painted cows -- though I've seen colours on sheep in the UK before (not the whole sheep, just big splotches on their wool to mark them as part of one herd or another) -- but yes, many of them had big flower-y hats!

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