SWISS CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS
In addition to joint Christmas activities with the whole family, such as making and decorating candles together, or decorating the Christmas tree with candles, balls or apples, there are also special Christmas and Advent customs in Switzerland that are still lived by young and old. Often these customs do not have Christian origins but go back to pagan customs and earlier traditions. Discover the fascinating Swiss traditions during the contemplative season and immerse yourself in Swiss culture.
KLAUSEN-HUNTING & NUENICHLINGLER
In some Swiss regions, the expulsion of winter demons has a long tradition. At the Rigi in Küssnacht, the so-called Klausen hunting traditionally takes place at St. Nicholas' Day. This pre-Christian winter ritual drives away evil spirits and winter demons with noisy sounds. This ritual is led by the so-called Geislechlepfer, who drive away the ghosts with beating ribbons. These are followed by the so-called "Iffelen", which follow them in a dancing manner, wearing colorful, illuminated Santa Claus caps that are up to two meters high and weigh up to 20 kilograms. At the end of the procession, Samichlaus - the Swiss name for Santa Claus - with his Schmutzli, the servant Ruprecht, distributes donuts, dried fruits, and nuts to the spectators.
Winter demons also find no shelter in the canton of Baselland. Here they are driven out on Christmas Eve by the so-called Nünichlingler and their bells. Nünichlingler are men dressed in long, dark coats with cylindrical, black headgear, which can be up to two meters high. The foremost of the group, the so-called Bäsemaa, wears a cloth blackened in soot on a pole and curious onlookers’ risk being covered with a soot stain.
Not far from the Swiss mountain Rigi in Küssnacht, the Romantik Hotel Beau Rivage in Weggis is located directly on the shore of Lake Lucerne. The hotel spoils its guests with light Mediterranean cuisine and classic French haute cuisine. The heated garden swimming pool, the crystal salt whirlpool and the aroma steam bath ensure a relaxing stay in the middle of idyllic nature.
With the Escalade, the people of Geneva traditionally commemorate the defence of their city against the Savoyards during the Advent season. Even though the original idea of the parade has no direct connection to Christmas, the many lights and torches still create a contemplative, Christmassy atmosphere in the city and a festive ambience.
Only 15 kilometres from Geneva, the Romantik Hotel Auberge d'Hermance on Lake Geneva welcomes guests in charmingly furnished rooms. The Romantik Hotel inspires in the culinary field with three different restaurant areas. In the main restaurant with rustic style, in the winter garden with Provence ambience or on the Mediterranean terrace, every visit becomes a culinary experience.
APPENZELL TURN OF THE YEAR
In the canton of Appenzell, the turn of the year is even celebrated twice: On the one hand, according to the Gregorian calendar on 31 december and, on the other, according to the Julian calendar on 13 January. On both days the New Year's Eve clauses colourful, artistically dressed with decorated hats, hoods and masks, move from house to house, wishing all the inhabitants "es guets Neus".
Experience Appenzell hospitality at the Romantik Hotel Säntis in traditional buildings with magnificent facades. Situated directly on the Landsgemeindeplatz, the hotel is a delightful place to stay in the centre of the mountain village. Enjoy the fresh regional cuisine and local specialties in the cosy "Landsgmend-Stobe" and relax after an eventful day in the Appenzell region.
While most Swiss people are already unpacking all their presents on the Christmas holidays, the children in Ticino are still waiting for the witch Befana. According to legend, she was invited by the Three Kings to visit the Christ Child together. Being very busy, she had to postpone this and could not find the Christ Child on her broom. Instead, she decided to give presents to all the children and therefore the children in Ticino receive their presents from the witch Befana in the night of January 5-6. According to an old tradition, the most daring throw themselves into the icy cold waters of Lake Maggiore in Brissago on January 6th in honor of the witch Befana.
In a fantastic location on Lake Maggiore, the Romantik Hotel Castello Seeschloss in Ascona welcomes you to the charming medieval castle from the 13th century. Let your gaze wander over the lake, enjoy the delicacies in the in-house restaurant and relax surrounded by magnificent nature.