Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our World Tuesday: Congratulations & Celebrations

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Yesterday it was 394 years since Borås received its town privileges – 29th June, 1621.

Since 1990 it’s been a tradition to celebrate this day with cake served in the main square at noon.

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A bit of rain does not stop true Boråsians from queueing for (free) cake!

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Each year, an "ambassador" for our town is also appointed on this occasion. This year the honour was given to Leon Rytz, 88 years old, born in Poland, and a survivor from German WWII concentration camps like Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen. In 1945, after the war – aged 18, and having been imprisoned in various camps since he was 14 – he came to live and build a new life for himself in this town and country. Here he met a woman from similar background (also from Poland) and they got married and started a family, and later a business. Not until decades later did they start talking publically about their horrible experiences from the past.

It was a very moving speech he held yesterday at the ceremony, even though he kept it short and did not go into details. (It would have been well worth going to listen to even without cake!)

I noticed quite a few new immigrants (and perhaps refugees) present at the celebrations in the square. I hope they may have felt encouraged by the speech to believe in a hopeful future for themselves in this country too. And for the rest of us, it was a powerful reminder as well (at least it was for me):

If the tradition continues, who will be standing on the platform to be appointed “ambassador of the year” for this town in 2085? Maybe someone who came here as refugee in 2015 from Syria or Somalia…

Our World Tuesday

10 comments:

  1. I'm glad I didn't miss cake day. I too believe it a countries duty to help people from appalling circumstances feel welcome.
    Unfortunately in the UK the government are only interested in helping themselves.

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  2. what a great tradition, the cake and the speeches, we need to be reminded where we came from over and over....

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  3. I like your town tradition, it would have been interesting to hear his speech.

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  4. It is so hard to realize that a town could be as old as yours. Ours will celebrate its 200th birthday next year. What a fun way to celebrate.

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  5. Your town seems more welcoming to immigrants who are trying to seek out better lives.
    Your post made me pause for deep thought...I am so thankful that I live in a land of peace.

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  6. I remember you having told us about this lovely tradition of your town last year, Monica. I would have definitely gone to listen to the speech and have a piece of cake, too.
    My town, Ludwigsburg, was only founded in 1704, but all of the surrounding villages are much, much older; some have been first mentioned on charts more than 1.000 years ago.
    I am so grateful that I have never had to leave my home for reasons other than going on a holiday or travelling for business... How blessed and lucky I am! If I had to leave, I'd hope to make it to a country like Sweden, or Germany.

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  7. I'm linking this post to Friday My Town as well, as this week's FMTSO theme is Sweet Treats. Alas when I tried to pick up the post again in Windows Live Writer to add the link, there seems to be trouble connecting from there to Blogger again. You'll find Friday My Town Shoot Out in my footer-section though.

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  8. Perhaps....by then, we will have no refugees fleeing from war anymore....

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