Guido, The Swiss Guard Nutcracker
At the beginning of the 16th century the Vatican began to employ Swiss mercenaries, who had the reputation for faithful service. In the 1527 “Sack of Rome”, it was the quick reaction of the Swiss Guards that enabled the Pope, Clement VII, to take refuge. However, 147 Swiss soldiers died in the fighting and the invaders caused irrevocable damage to ancient manuscripts, artwork and other treasures.
The costumes of the Swiss Guard with the puffed sleeves and red, blue or yellow knickers date back to Renaissance times. In 1505 the guards wore simple tunics, but in 1548 the uniforms worn at present were adopted. As well as their everyday costumes, the Swiss Guards have suits of armor with swords, but these are only used for escorting the Pope during special ceremonies in St. Peter’s.
Every year on May 6th, the anniversary of the “Sack of Rome,” the Swiss Guards renew their vows. In a colorful ceremony, new recruits kneel down and raise three fingers of their right hand to symbolize the Trinity and swear allegiance to serve the Pope.
In 2001 Steinbach released the sixth member of the Steinbach Member’s Only Nutcracker Series, Guido, The Swiss Guard Nutcracker.