This year’s Family Festival celebrated the 25thanniversary of the Declaration of the Day of Families. It was organized by FFWPU Switzerland, Universal Peace Federation Switzerland, WFWP Switzerland, and with the help of Youth and Students for Peace Switzerland. This festival was an opportunity to share memorable moments as families and individuals together, enjoy various artistic representations, receive inspiration through speeches from different religious leaders, and finally take part in the Blessing Ceremony before sharing a great dinner. As it took place in a bilingual town, the presentations were given in French or German and interpreted simultaneously into the other language.
After a warm welcome with performances, an interreligious panel took place around the theme “Peace starts with me and my family”.
The panelists represented the Neo-Apostolic Church (Franklin Jacky Domenic), Family Federation (Rosa Maria Leggio), Judaism (Kevin De-Carli), Krishna Temple (José Arnoldi), and Islam (Naïma Serroukh). The panel was moderated by Noëmie Komagata, President of Family Federation North-West Switzerland. The deep content of the panelists’ speeches had common points and values: responsibility was pointed out as an essential aspect for peace, as well as forgiveness. Peace is created and found first within oneself, and then can be expanded to the family, national, and world levels.
After the panel, the five representatives each poured water in a common bowl, expressing at the same time a word of blessing. This water symbolized the unity and harmony of all religions leading to the same source.
The festival continued with a presentation from Heiner Handschin, president of FFWPU Switzerland, on the topic of family values and the signification of the Blessing for a peaceful world.
The Blessing Ceremony followed and holy juice was given to all the participants who wished to renew their vows for purity before and fidelity in marriage.
The water collected earlier from the panelists was sprinkled on the participants and couples. The Blessing was an opportunity for couples to reaffirm their marriage vows and to promise each other to never again conduct any act of violence to one another, but to strive to establish a long-lasting couple and family filled with True Love. The Family Festival ended with a delicious dinner during which the participants were able to continue sharing around music and more artistic performances.