St Gallen Children’s Festival


Category:
Social practices
  • Performing arts
Canton:

Description

Although it can be traced back to older customs, the children’s festival in St Gallen has been held since 1824 when it arose out of city school reforms. Nowadays it usually takes place every three years at the beginning of summer, but the date is not fixed. The educational authorities organise the festival and choose its theme; the participants are schoolchildren in the public education system. Business and private life bow to the demands and dynamics of the event, since it is a city folk festival celebrated by children together with their parents, grandparents and friends. Thousands of visitors gather to watch the procession of children and local government officials through the town to the festival square. There the school classes take turns to entertain the crowd and food is provided.

Over the years the festival has evolved. 100 years ago it focussed on the products of the embroidery industry, with girls and young women wearing white embroidered dresses. With the economic crisis after the First World War and the new ways of thinking which emerged in the late 1960s, the embroidery industry all but disappeared. Today’s festival is designed with the latest generation of children and teenagers in mind.

Image gallery

  • Colourful children in 2008 © Stadtarchive St.Gallen, PA Foto Gross, St.Gallen
  • Modern theatre at the 2008 children’s festival: “We’ve got courage” © Stadtarchive St.Gallen, PA Foto Gross, St.Gallen
  • Students at the couture studio of the vocational college presenting their creations in 1993 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Stopping for a quick photo on the corner of Marktplatz-Metzgergasse in 1980 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Colourful procession with balloons instead of flowers in 1960 © W. Hege, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • A tambourine dance on the Talhof stage in 1951 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • A convivial atmosphere in the marquee, 1938 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Dancing on the podium, 1938 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Young women wearing their embroidered dresses in 1936 © Louis Baumgartner, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Cadets eating sausages and bread at the children’s festival in 1936 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Saying cheers with tea! 1936 © Hans Gross, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • View of the festival field and the stage, 1934 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • On Mount Rosenberg en route to the festival field, 1932 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • Lower school parade with crowds of spectators and a folk music group © Louis Baumgartner, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Lower school parade in 1927 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Schoolgirls in long white dresses and garlands en route to the festival field, probably in 1898 © Eventuell Schalch & Ebinger, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Colourful children in 2008 © Stadtarchive St.Gallen, PA Foto Gross, St.Gallen
  • Modern theatre at the 2008 children’s festival: “We’ve got courage” © Stadtarchive St.Gallen, PA Foto Gross, St.Gallen
  • Students at the couture studio of the vocational college presenting their creations in 1993 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Stopping for a quick photo on the corner of Marktplatz-Metzgergasse in 1980 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Colourful procession with balloons instead of flowers in 1960 © W. Hege, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • A tambourine dance on the Talhof stage in 1951 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • A convivial atmosphere in the marquee, 1938 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Dancing on the podium, 1938 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Young women wearing their embroidered dresses in 1936 © Louis Baumgartner, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Cadets eating sausages and bread at the children’s festival in 1936 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Saying cheers with tea! 1936 © Hans Gross, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • View of the festival field and the stage, 1934 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • On Mount Rosenberg en route to the festival field, 1932 © F. Krüsi, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv Gallen
  • Lower school parade with crowds of spectators and a folk music group © Louis Baumgartner, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Lower school parade in 1927 © Stadtarchiv St.Gallen
  • Schoolgirls in long white dresses and garlands en route to the festival field, probably in 1898 © Eventuell Schalch & Ebinger, St.Gallen/Stadtarchiv St.Gallen

Video

St Gallen Children’s Festival in 1929 © Ortsbürgergemeinde St.Gallen, Auszug aus: St.Galler Stadtleben damals, fünf Filme aus den Dreissigerjahren

References and documentation

Publications
  • Bestände des Stadtarchivs der Politischen Gemeinde St.Gallen: 5/62/228-229 (Akten und Fotografien)

  • Richard Butz (Ed.): Mein St.Gallen. Ein Lesebuch. St.Gallen, 1994

  • Hans Richard von Fels: Die Schulfahnen am St.Galler Kinderfest (Heraldische Führer der Schweiz 3). St.Gallen, 1959

  • Jakob Kuoni: Das St.Galler Jugendfest. St.Gallen, 1910

  • Marcel Mayer: St.Gallen im Wandel der Zeit. In: St.Galler Tagblatt, 31. Mai 1999

  • Alfred Schlegel: Schulgeschichte der Stadt Sankt Gallen. St.Gallen, 1959

  • Hans Martin Stückelberger: Das Kinderfest, eine mehr als 150jährige Tradition. In: Schule + Elternhaus no. 10. St. Gallen, Mai 1977

  • Josef Weiss: Das Sankt-Galler Kinderfest. In: Schulstadt St.Gallen. Eine Entwicklungsgeschichte. St.Gallen, 2004

Documentation