Top 5 typical winter traditions in Switzerland

Traditional horse sleigh

Horse sleigh ©pmarkham/Flickr

Many think that Switzerland is shaped and defined by chocolate making, quality watches, cheese farms and alphorn blowing. But the culture of this multilingual country is rooted into the ancient times, it is rich and beautiful.

I have put together a top 5 list of the most typical traditions in Switzerland and there is another one, a sixth one practiced throughout the year, you can hear about if you watch the below video by the tourism board  of Switzerland. Enjoy and let me know if you have heard about some other Swiss tradition readers may find interesting.

Schlittéda in the Engadine

This sledging/ matchmaking tradition dates back for centuries in the Engadine Valley. For one day the single men and women dressed in traditional clothing are paired together. They ride on horse pulled sleighs, eat and have fun together throughout the whole event.

Of course, the ‘festival’ can be attended by others as well, but I am sure it is a lot of fun for those participating.

Traditional horse sleigh

Horse sleigh ©pmarkham/Flickr

Brunnensingen in Rheinfelden

Now the town of Rheinfelden has got 7 fountains. Since exactly 1342 the men of the town dress up in black tops and actually stand on the fountains while singing carols.

They say that the first singers were the survivors of the plague that wiped through Europe. These men wanted to cheer up a little the bitter and heart-broken townspeople who all have lost someone.

Bochselnacht in Weinfelden

The winter holiday season brings loads of amazing customs and events. In Weinfelden the children make pumpkin lanterns and march with them to the main square of the town while singing old songs together.

It is beautiful to see the kids with their carved pumpkin lanterns in the beautiful Swiss winter atmosphere, in the evening when Christmas is on the doorstep – it is magical!


Bochselnacht © Gemeinde Weinfelden/Lukas Fleische

Chlauschlöpfle in Hallwil

Just think about a lot of men and boys walking around in the town and cracking whips everywhere they go. That is Chlauschlopfle in the town of Hallwil. The tradition dated back to the 16th century and its purpose was probably to scare away any evil spirits with the sound of the whips.

Unfortunately it is a men-only activity, so the ladies can only enjoy from a distance.

Thusis Christmas Carols

Singing Christmas Carols is a well known, but in Thusis, in the Graubunden area of the country it is done to collect money for charitable causes. What makes it even more special is that people wrap coins into small tissues and also alight them before throwing them to the singers…

You see, Switzerland is a great ski destination, but it has got so much more to offer!


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