Residents of a French municipality near the Atlantic coast, have been imposed remarkable new municipal regulations. They have to laugh and be happy for a week. And not only that, “sad music and films and books with a tragic ending are forbidden.”
This is laid down in a decree issued by the Mayor of Essarts-en-Bocage, Freddy Riffaud, in the Loire region. The decree states: “All residents are free to give free rein to their happiness”.
The measures apply from 5 to 11 October. “It’s very serious”, says Mayor Riffaud. “We will have a cultural festival this week, which will be dedicated to happiness. That’s what we’re doing this year for the first time. With this decree we make the festival official, we want to make the happiness official that week.”
“Most depressed country in the world”
France is not known as a country of ‘happy French’. The newspaper Le Parisien once wrote about ‘the most depressed country in the world’. In international research into happiness, the French always end up in the lowest regions.
“We want to get rid of black-headedness, pessimism,” Riffaud says about his decree. But the text does contain a wink. The decision would be based on ‘The Code of Happiness’ and would be based on the official statement that ‘negative emotions spread rapidly and cause devastation’.
Complainers and prunes undesirable
The residents of Essarts-en-Bocage will soon be obliged to smile three times a day, smile at ten people daily, and be in a good mood every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Opponents are kept out. “Anyone who opposes the expression of happiness will be excluded from our territory,” according to Article 2 of the decree. “Angry people, complainants and sourpusses are obliged to leave their grief outside the borders of the city,” says Article 3.
Mayor Riffaud has announced that no fines will be handed out to pessimists. “Not yet this year, anyway. Above all, we want to encourage our residents to be cheerful.”