In the early 17th century, there were religious conflicts in Geneva between the Catholics (supported by the Duke of Savoy) and the Calvinist Reformers. One conflict was called l'Escalade - which is a French word meaning to scale walls. This conflict took place on the night of December 11-12 in 1602. The Duke of Savoy's army tried to raid the city of Geneva. When they tried to scale the walls of the city the citizens of Geneva impeded them.

There's a legend that one Genevan, Catherine Cheynel (mother of 14, referred to as "Mère Royaume") took a big cauldron of hot soup and poured it on the attackers killing one. This raised a ruckus, which in turn helped wake up the people of Geneva allowing them to defend their city.

This song is about L'Escalade. It's sung for the Fête de l'Escalade which is a holiday in Geneva that celebrates this legend and victory. People eat soup, kids go door-to-door in costumes singing Escalade songs and people get chocolate cauldrons filled with marzipan "vegetables" which they smash and eat.

The song "Cé qu'è lainô" was composed in 1603 following l'Escalade. The full song is 68 verses long, though today only about 3 or 4 verses are normally sung. This song is also considered the anthem of Geneva.

Cé qu'è lainô - Swiss Children's Songs - Switzerland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

*They came in the middle of the night.

This song was written in the Genevan dialect of the Arpitan language. The Arpitan language is also called Franco-Provençal.

Cé qu'è lainô - Swiss Children's Songs - Switzerland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1
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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Cé qu'è lainô

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The 2nd photo shows a chocolate cauldron that's eaten for the Fête de l'Escalade. The pic comes from Schutz on Wikipedia

Translated by Lisa and Monique.

Grant marci!

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