So far we've come across two of these trees - one at the Zurich Zoo and one at the Wild Animal Park in Goldau:
From far away it just looks like a nice green tree, but as you get closer you can see there are things hanging from all of the branches:
Pacifiers! Clumps and clumps of binkis...or pacis...or nooks...or dummies...or as many Swiss call them, nuggis!
I thought at first that the employees had found the pacifiers lost or discarded throughout the park and strung them up on a tree as decorations or as a warning to babies, "Keep track of your nuggi or else!"
Nope, these trees are actually facilitating a right of passage. Apparently when a child decides they are too old or no longer have the need for their pacifier they bring it to a tree to be hung as an offering to the Nuggi Fairy. In some circles, the Nuggi Fairy brings the child a special toy, in others, not. Some Nuggi trees are in very public places, like the zoo or wild animal park, and some are on random trees in the forest.
I personally like the spirit of this ritual because it allows the child some control over when they are ready to give up their beloved nuggi rather than the parent hiding it, or worse, throwing it away.
Today's poem is all the big kid decision makers out there...
nuggis hang low
when kids are ready to
suck it up
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved