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From National Holidays to a Celebration of World Unity

Today Switzerland is celebrating its national holiday, at the date supposed to be its establishment in 1291 – though historians doubt it

What to take pride in as a nation? This topic is stimulating the minds on such occasions, and it is a fertile field of patriotic moods. I yesterday read articles in some newspapers on this theme, discussing the situation of freedom in a time of excessive administrative regulations (NZZ) or if there are really good Swiss jokes (not really, says the Tages-Anzeiger). Other countries seem to celebrate with less intellectual embarrassment, as I saw in India last January: “I love my India”.

Of course, national identity is an important factor for a sound and stable social system, and celebrating the accomplishments of a nation certainly contributes to form a meaningful national identity. Like an individual, nations also have their personality and soul qualities. The personality traits, in their gross forms for example chauvinism, racism or xenophobia, are often supported by economic egotism, which always has an eye to one’s own interests (money, money…), and also the feeling of social or cultural superiority (we are the champions…).

The soul qualities of a nation show in its power of integration, of humanitarianism, of a responsible and committed attitude towards the welfare of the environment without the egotistic eye. In spirituality crises and conflicts are seen as times of growth towards a large scope of consciousness, and this is also true for nations. If they don’t learn to share, crises will teach them.

Many people are feeling the need to celebrate global festivals like the earth day, celebrating the global village or festivals of good will in order to rise the awareness of the oneness of life. They are good ways to install the feeling of unity and inter-connectedness.

So the love for one’s country can expand towards a love of the greater global whole and the readiness to take the related responsibilities of exchanging and sharing. Like Michael Jackson and his crew once sung: “We are the world, we are the children”. Maybe it’s the hymn of a future celebration of global unity. As the refrain says: “We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a  brighter day, so let’s start giving.”

Flags of the Swiss cantons and the national flag in front of the Swiss Federal Building, for today’s celebration

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