October ushers in the darkest half of the year. A variety of international traditions at SIS Basel punctuate the period from October to March with crafts and decorations, celebrations and other highlights that generate festivity, community, creativity and fun. Some events are annual and others fluctuate depending on the contributions of the families enrolled that year.
At the end of October, our school hallways get decorated with the tantalizingly spooky symbols of Halloween that tend to delight the children, complete with preschooler “trick-or-treat” visits to the Principal’s office and even the occasional “haunted house” and Halloween party for primary through secondary students.
In November, we have the beautiful Swiss tradition of Räbelichtli Umzug in honor of St. Martin’s Day, where Kindergartners carve lanterns from turnips that they carry in a procession, shining light into the early-evening dark.
In December, the SIS Basel “Winter Party – an International Celebration” is a spirited community event outdoors, where students, parents and staff get together to share foods and crafts from our individual cultures and roots, with many decorated stands, live music and a bonfire.
In late winter/early spring, some of our teachers introduce their students to the long-standing tradition of the Basler Fasnacht carnival – a UNESCO World Heritage event affectionately known locally as die drey scheenste Dääg (“the three best days”) – through costume making, song, music and a parade.
From time to time, the beauty of the Indian celebration of Diwali, Festival of Lights, has brightened school in November with colourful sand mandalas created in the main foyer, music and dance performances and special foods. We have also been graced with the candle-lit procession, songs and treats of the Scandinavian St. Lucia Day in December, the beauty of the Chinese New Year in late winter, as well as Easter bonnet parades in the spring.