Fête de l’Escalade or L’Escalade is an annual festival held in Geneva, Switzerland in December to commemorate the defeat of the surprise attack by Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy’s troops on Geneva on the 11th and 12th December 1602.
This festival is being celebrated since last 400 years.
History of Fête de l’Escalade :
On December 11 and 12 1602 — the longest night of the year — the forces of the Duke of Savoy, under the command of the seigneur d’Albigny, and those of Charles Emmanuel’s brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, launched an attack on the city-state of Geneva. The troops marched along the Arve River at night and assembled at Plainpalais, just outside the walls of Geneva, at 2 o’clock in the morning.
The night guard Isaac Mercier raised the alarm, church bells were rung, and the citizens of Geneva managed to prevent the attackers from scaling the city wall (climb means escalade in spanish). The Geneva citizens defeated the men by preventing them from scaling the wall (a climb in French is an escalade). The duke’s 2000-plus mercenaries were beaten, several hundred died – and finally they had to retreat.
Fête de l’Escalade 2017 Date :
The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 12 December or the closest weekend.
In 2017, Fête de l’Escalade will be commemorated in the Geneva’s old town on December 08, 09 and 10, 2017.
Fête de l’Escalade Procession & Celebrations :
The highlight of the day is Fête de l’Escalade procession which happens on Sunday afternoon, with hundreds of members of the “Compagnie 1602” in full historical costume move in the procession. They are accompanied by gun smoke, firecrackers and gun salutes. The annual procession ends in front of the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre with the proclamation of the Genevese victory.
Other customs of this day include the offering of mulled wine and children in Halloween-like costumes singing Escalade songs in local bistros and in the streets, for as many much money as you care to give them.