Advent Celebrations Kick Off With Cheese Fondue and Storytelling

Sonntag, 01. Dezember 2013

by Daniel Davis Wood

Three special events tonight marked the beginning of the Ecole’s Advent celebrations, which will continue throughout the rest of December until the end of the Fall Term.

First up was the traditional cheese fondue dinner in a dining hall beautifully decorated by the family from Haupthaus.

Marnie gathers up a serving of fondue.

At the top of a stairwell adorned with paper lanterns, the Ecole Folk Band welcomed students to their tables with instrumental performances of Christmas carols. Candlelight and pine needle wreaths were placed on every table and many students dressed up for the occasion in formal clothing, sitting down to share a pot of cheese fondue with others in their Ecole family.

After dinner, students gathered downstairs in the entrance to Max Cassirer Haus for the season’s first ‘Sing and Swing’ session. Frédéric took to his keyboard and Micha picked up his guitar to lead the group in a singalong performance of some classic folk tunes. Then, when everyone was all sung out, they split into two groups according to their fluency in one of two languages — German and English — and sat down to listen to readings of Christmas-themed folk tales.

Click here to view a selection of photographs of the Advent activities.

German speakers gathered in the Grossen Saal where Fränzi sat behind a table covered in candles and read Selma Lagerlöf’s ‘Legend of the Christmas Rose.’ The story revolves around a family of thieves who may or may not need to be forgiven for their crimes after they witness something that could have been a miracle. Lagerlöf was a Swedish writer — the first Swede and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature — and a German translation of her text has been read at the Ecole d’Humanité every Advent for more than fifty years.

English speakers gathered in Haus am Bach to listen to Ashley read a story by the Brothers Grimm about a young boy who sets off on a quest and has an encounter with the Devil. “We all walked into a nice, cozy, candlelit house with a fire going in the fireplace,” says Hallie Scarbrough, a ninth grade student in the American Program. “Everywhere you looked there were Ecolianers wrapped up in blankets and cuddling with friends. Sitting there in a big comfy chair was Ashley. He sat in the chair and proceeded to read us our story. He made us all laugh so much and we all enjoyed the time together. It was a very nice evening.”

There will be more delicious food, more ‘Sing and Swing,’ and more stories on offer when the Ecole’s Advent celebrations continue next Sunday.