Season Greetings – year-end traditions in Switzerland
E viv 'il chalandamarz! Make some noise for spring
Chalandamarz is an ancient tradition that has been celebrated in the Romansh-speaking part of the Swiss canton of Grisons since Roman times. Where does the word Chalandamarz come from and how is this tradition celebrated?
Marroni - a delicious winter snack to warm hearts and hands
„Heissi Marroni!“ – you may have heard this call from street vendors selling roasted chestnuts in winter. Brought to Switzerland by the Romans centuries ago, the humble chestnut was then considered food for the poor before rising to its current status as a welcome treat to ward off the cold.
Silvesterchlausen in Urnäsch – ..."Zäuerli", "Schuppeln" and "Schellen"
If the men of the Appenzell hinterland are nowhere to be found this evening, it’s worth poking your head into the stuben. It’s still months until the Silvesterchlausen, but the men are already hard at work crafting their elaborate headdresses and costumes.
Although the “Grittibänz” or “Grättimaa” may be a tongue twister, this sweet bread is usually a treat for the tongue. This Christmas tradition emerged in the Middle Ages. The little figures then spread through Switzerland as time passed, picking up a range of names in the process.
A weird, wonderful and enchanting spectacle is to be seen on a night before Christmas in the Swiss region of Weinfelden – dozens of little lights dancing over the fields and twinkling through the alleyways of the town.
Can you imagine opening up the doors to your home and inviting any stranger in town to drop by for a drink and something to eat? Your first reaction may be “No Way!”, but in Switzerland it is a time-honoured tradition during December, called the Advent Window.
The Christmas Circus
I love going to the circus! The artists, the clowns, the atmosphere…. No matter how many times I have been, there’s always something new and exciting. And I’m always amazed.
The Advent Market
This year’s Christmas story is dedicated to all of our customers who enjoy doing their Christmas shopping at the market. Especially for travellers from abroad, visiting an Advent market in Europe is an experience you will long not forget. Advent markets are common throughout Switzerland and other European countries - all the major cities and most of the smaller towns hold them.
This year we would like to share with you a Christmas tradition that is very dear to us – Christmas cookies in Switzerland. Every country has special holiday sweets and treats, and Switzerland is no exception. Whether you make them yourself, buy a pre-made batter in a store, or just purchase the finished products, there is a large selection of cookies to tempt even the strongest of wills.
Xmas Lights à la Swiss
The Christmas story I would like to share with you this year deals with another Swiss novelty: Christmas lighting in Switzerland. Coming from Canada, I grew up with the North American tradition of hanging coloured lights outside the house at Christmastime. Quite often the trees are also lit up, and here and there you see a Santa Claus with his sled and reindeer.
Last year our Christmas greeting was about the tradition of Santa Claus and the Black Peter, who visit on Dec. 6. This year I would like to talk about another special Swiss tradition that takes place exactly one month later, after Christmas and New Years Day. January 6 is Three Kings Day, the day according to lore that the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. In many countries January 6 represents the end of the holiday season.
Santa Claus and the Schmutzli
In Switzerland, Santa Claus doesn't have a sleigh and 8 reindeer, and he doesn't fly around on Christmas Eve to deliver presents. A different tradition is observed here, which we would like to tell you about with this years seasons greetings.