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Local News Summary of December, 24th

  • Major police operation launched to break up protest in city centre
  • Old Christmas carols in Baseldeutsch rediscovered
  • How to ensure the especially long Christmas celebration does not end in a family tragedy
  • Barfi.ch wishes all our readers all a merry and peaceful Christmas!

Major police operation launched to break up protest in city centre

Several police units were deployed to deal with a protest which was held in the city centre yesterday. The protest caused delays to several tram and bus lines, with several services diverted.

The protest took place around the Claraplatz area of the city centre on the day before Christmas Eve – one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The reason for the protest, which was disbanded when the police units arrived, is yet unknown.

Old Christmas carols in Baseldeutsch rediscovered

A collection of «Baseldytsch Christmas carols» were published by the priest Abel Burckhardt in the 19th century. Now Baslers can rediscover the long-forgotten carols in our language.

Had enough of «Oh Tannenbaum» and «Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht»? The American Christmas carols have also been played to death throughout Advent. Seeking an alternative, the Barfi.ch team investigated whether there are also carols in Baseldeutsch, and found a rarity in the archives: «Children’s songs. A Christmas gift for children and mothers from the homeland», which was published by Abel Burckhardt in 1910.

The little booklet contains thirteen Christmas carols and is illustrated by wood engravings. What is really special about it, however, is that every song is in Baseldeutsch. Ahem, excuse me. That should rather be «Baseldytsch», since the first edition was published in 1850. The first edition of this collection was published in the 19th century, in the «Baseler Sunday room», a place founded also by priest Abel Burckhardt, where boys from working class families, and apprentices could live. The boys got a paper sheet on which Christmas carols were printed. After a few years, Mr Burckhardt collected all the sheets he had distributed over the years and put them together in a songbook – at first without musical notations. The second edition was published eight years later and was distributed mainly as a Christmas present.

How to ensure the especially long Christmas celebration does not end in a family tragedy

Christmas Eve marks the start of the celebration of peace and contemplation. For most families, this harmony holds up through the first official Christmas day on 25th December. However, statistics indicated that the peaceful atmosphere at home is mostly broken shortly after that.

The primary reasons for arguments and domestic violence over the festive season are the high expectations of Christmas mixed with the impression of being cramped together in a small space for too long. This is true both for families with and without children: Mountains are made out of molehills. And in a year when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, the Christmas holiday seems to last twice as long as normal. This is of course wonderful, but it can also be a fuse lighter. Professor Stefan Borgwardt, head physician of the UPK Basel psychiatric clinic for adults, advises that in order to keep the peace over Christmas, it is vital to understand others. «People should not have too-high expectations and respect the wishes of other family members. In this way, the holidays can be spent with common activities and trips.»

Lack of snow and strange presents are normal and should never be the reason to get into a paddy

Even if a walk in the snow before and after unwrapping the presents is not possible this year, it should not create a bad atmosphere. This additional romance of a white Christmas only happens about once in every ten years in Basel. Also, the legend of the well-intended practical present of an iron or a hoover given by the husband to his wife is really just a legend. As much is the cheese-fondue set for six people, with every part individually wrapped in paper. Such household items are useful but should be something which is bought during the year and not as presents to be found under the Christmas tree. The woollen jumper knitted by the mother-in-law is perhaps still around but this has become a cult item. There should be no arguments because of presents.

You love them but don’t forget that you love yourself too: Too much togetherness

In everyday life, couples spend an average of 10 minutes at a time talking to each other. During the holidays the time spent together increases massively. This can lead to arguments but it doesn’t have to. Just because it's Christmas, couples don't have to necessarily spend the entire time together. It is advised to weave in some variety into the festive holiday plans. Visiting friends or receiving visitors, perhaps? Friends and family members can also suffer from cabin fever. A walk through the empty streets of the city centre is an adventure in itself, as well as making a trip to the many local destinations. Even during this period, most cinemas are offering a full programme.

Professional help if it becomes serious

In case the celebration of love and peace descends into a difficult situation, maybe even involving domestic violence, there is a genuine alternative to phoning the police available. The crisis intervention unit (KIS) at the university clinics Basel helps in situations of psychological and/or psychosocial distress. There is no reason for anyone to be ashamed of calling for help in a difficult situation.

The crisis intervention unit (KIS), run by the university psychiatric clinics Basel at the university hospital, can be contacted on: +41 61 325 51 00, and the emergency unit telephone number is: +41 61 325 81 81.

Even if you never need it, you should know where the fire extinguisher is

If you think that these special emergency services and units would fear the coming holidays, then you would be wrong. There are problems among people all year round. Unfortunately, these also happen sometimes during the holidays which, this year, seem to be longer than usual. Isn't that a joyful message?

Barfi.ch wishes all our readers a merry and peaceful Christmas!

And if you feel like going out, here is an overview of all events.