Every state has its way of celebrating Christmas and Switzerland is no exception.
Although they borrow some customs from other countries close to them such as Germany and Australia, they also have their tradition that they follow during this festive season.
Some of their outstanding customs are the use of the Advent calendar and crowns.
In Switzerland, How Do the Advent Calendars Work?
The villagers create a variety of advent calendars referred to as window advents, which are circulated and stuck on the windows of the residents.
Ones the window advent reaches your home, you are expected to prepare a party for the villagers which happens in the evening.
They carry out these exercises with high honors and celebrations as the residents eat and wine together.
They have a special wine referred to as a Gluhwein that they drink during these celebrations.
Out of the villages, the people living in the cities are not left behind when celebrating Christmas.
Although they may not have similar customs with the folks in the communities, they also celebrate Christmas in their ways.
There are a lot of foods and gifts sold in the cities; a celebration referred to as the Christmas market.
There are also plenty of Christmas decorations.
The town itself is fully furnished with Christmas messages; great lighting on the streets and, their favorite Gluhwein is served in the cities too.
Christmas Celebration in Switzerland Regions
The people of Switzerland have different Christmas traditions carols they follow during this season.
For example, the people from Bernese Oberland have their celebration beginning on Christmas day running until the New Year’s Eve.
This celebration is referred to as Trychle.
What Happens During Trychle?
The people from this region move around while parading large cowbells referred to as Trychlers.
They also carry drums and wear big masks to cover their faces.
Then they walk around the streets of Bernese Oberland while making noises with the drums to scare off evil spirits from their land.
On the other hand, the people of Urnasch have their proceedings during Christmas time.
They have a Christmas tradition celebration referred to as Urnasch Silversterklause which is held at Appenzell Ausserrhoden.
The festival is held from 31st December to 13th January.
This celebration has been in existence for over 200 years; hence, the people of Urnasch still hold it dearly during the Christmas time.
What Happens During the Urnasch Silversterklause
The celebration is conducted by people referred to as Klause in the possession.
They distinguish themselves by wearing masks, costumes and also the headdresses.
They move around beating drums and making noises as they wish the people of their region a prosperous new year.
Christmas and Children of Switzerland
The children in Switzerland are not left behind as they also have their Christmas celebration referred to as Star Singing.
The kids go round singing Christmas carols starting from the last week of the Advent calendar to Epiphany.
The children mimic the activities that took place during the birth of Jesus since they carry a massive star to represent the stars that led the wise men to where Jesus was born.
The children get to celebrate St Nicholas, who is believed to visit them from 6th December baring gifts. Note that in Switzerland, St Nicholas is referred to as Samichlaus.
Other great experiences that the kids enjoy include during the 25th December all through 6th January where Befana and the three kings visit them.
They also come bearing gifts that are given to the kids. These two occasions mainly happen in the southern part of Switzerland.
Christmas Eve in Switzerland
A Christmas tree is a significant decor piece used during the Christmas time. In Switzerland, the Christmas trees are quite popular.
The people use real candles to decorate the trees which are usually lit on Christmas when opening the presents and on New Year’s eve to wish them a good year.
Other than Christmas decor, the people of Switzerland also enjoy great meals on the eve.
Some of their Christmas menus include; Christmas ham, scalloped potatoes with melted cheese among others. Cookies are also a delicacy that the people enjoy to either cook or buy.
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Main Points About Christmas in Switzerland
- In Switzerland, at Christmas time, Christmas markets are very common in cities and towns. Locals can buy different foods and Christmas decorations.
- During the Christmas season, there are sweet aromas from cooking, twinkling lights, warm ambiance, endless parties, parades, carols, and processions.
- Christmas trees are bought and decorated on Christmas eve. Families come together to set up their Christmas decorations.
- The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas eve. Popular on the menu are ham, potatoes, cakes, molten cheese fondue, and cookies.
- Mulled wine is exclusively enjoying during the Christmas festivities. The ice-skating rinks are also populated at Christmas time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Switzerland
Switzerland has a lot in common with neighbors Germany and Austria when it comes to Christmas, but also traditions of their own.
One of them is ”real” advent calendars in some villages – houses decorate an ”advent window” – when it’s your advent window, you throw a party with food, mulled wine and music.
St. Nicholas is known as ”Samichlaus” here, and if you’re lucky you might get something from him on December 6th.
If you have been to Switzerland on Christmas or stay in Switzerland then do share your first-hand experience in the comments below.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Switzerland
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Switzerland. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.