If you think you need to go to Rio for the carnival your are wrong. There are much closer places, like Venice, or why not one of the many villages and cities in the roman catholic parts of Switzerland. Dad decided this morning he would go to Evolène, a small village in a godforsaken valley of the canton of Valais. It's actually a most interesting valley, val d'Hérans, both from a cultural point of view and also for its unique geological formations and for its fighting cows. It runs south to Arolla from the city of Sion. I'll let Dad take over to tell you what happened.
I took off from Pully shortly after nine this morning and managed to arrive in Evolène before the mass was finished in the village church. Just after 11 the village priest came out in front of his congregation, inviting everybody to the apéro, which in Valais means drinking either white wine, mostly Fendant, or beers. They then prayed together that the apéro would be successful after which the priest changed clothes to a religiously decorated sweat-shirt and appeared with a bottle of Fendant serving us all.
A really good Guggenband was playing in front of the church and everybody got reasonably drunk for a Sunday morning. This carnival dates many hundreds of years back in time. It starts early January and ends on Mardi Gras which this year is Tuesday February 25th. This Sunday is the climax of the partying with the young men of the village dressing up in jute sacs filled with straw and hellish masks intended to symbolise how you get rid of the misery of winter and greet the arrival of spring. The occasion was excellent this year with temperatures above 15 centigrades at over 1300 m altitude and bright sunshine.
There did not seem to be any problem with renewal of the actors, the young generation was out in great numbers, joining their big brothers with each one swinging a huge cow bell. It was deafening.
And in the middle of the parade we were sprayed with confetti from the confettimobile and its canons, a successful company from Sion serving all the carnivals and other festivities in the canton. The confetti replaced the snow that has since long melted off the streets of Evolène. Nobody was spared and it was great fun!
It was an exhausted bunch of "straw giants" I found in one of the backstreets after the parade. Not even a cold beer managed to get them back in shape to continue partying. I do have to show you more of the village people that had come to the party dressed for the occasion. Yes! There was even a slight flavour of Rio at the end of the parade...
And that was the end of a memorable day in the heart of catholic Valais. I hope you liked these photos as much as I enjoyed shooting them. Stay tuned for our next adventure!