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Dinner is served – with or without a table

Drinking and eating are not only basic physical functions but also cultural actions. The various forms of table behaviour are the focus of this year’s Heritage Days on September 13-14. What better way to whet your appetite than a quick tour of tables that aren’t actually tables?

In summer, in Switzerland as everywhere else, streets transform into giant open-air dining rooms. Students, workers, tourists – in a hurry or relaxed, alone or in groups – all improvise tables and make time for a bite and a chat.

These fleeting venues say a lot about contemporary table rituals, even though they might not be as austere as a convent kitchen, as bucolic as an orchard or as solemn as a gold-panelled dining hall of a castle.

All this and more can be discovered at some 800 events during Heritage Days 2014.

(Photos: Keystone, text: Marc-André Miserez,

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR