Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas in Switzerland

Erica Vetsch here:

My husband's family is from Switzerland, from the town of Buchs, to be specific. Buchs is a small town near the Lichtenstein border and is German-speaking.

In doing some family genealogy as well as research for a story, I uncovered some interesting Christmas traditions in Switzerland. 

There are traditional Christmas foods such as:

BrunsliChristmas brownie (cut in holly leaf shapes)  (Click on the description to be taken to a recipe for these yummy foods)

ChrabeliAnise Christmas cookies, 

Mailanderli(Cut out cookies) 

Zimtsterne Cinnamon Christmas cookies

Pastetlimeat pie

Sauerkraut, aged cabbage

Rostipotato cakes fried

Other Swiss Christmas Traditions include:

Star Singing - Children carol through town beginning the last week of Advent and continuing through Epiphany. They carry a large star with them, representative of the star that led the Wise Men to Bethlehem.

'Urnäsch Silvesterkläuse' - a procession where the participants wear costumes and masks and carol through town making lots of noise and welcoming in the new year.

The Trychle - Beginning on Christmas Day and continuing through New Year's Day, a procession where one person wears the Trychler (Cow Bell), people wear masks and carry drums, and parade through town supposedly scaring away evil spirits.

And Advent. Advent is huge in Switzerland. Advent calendars are prevalent, because the Swiss seek to teach their children patience and anticipation. In some towns, houses are chosen to become 'live' advent calendars. One window of the house is decorated for Advent, and when that house's day arrives, the occupants open the window and host a party. 

I love these traditions. Some of them are hundreds of years old. 

Do you know your family's ancestry? Are there any Christmas traditions you have that come from your heritage?

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  1. I have no idea about my heritage....but this is great. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas and God bless.

  2. I've been studying my families genealogy. It takes time but it's interesting. I've wondered what ethnicity your last name is--and now I know. :) My mom's grandmother is from Scotland. I know her dad was born in Texas, but I don't know where they originated. My dad's family is a mix of German, English & Irish. Dad's brothers and sisters were all born in Lancaster county, PA. But he's the youngest of ten kids and was born in KS. None of the family is Amish, even though they were from Lancaster.

    1. Vickie, we have much in common! My mother's family is Scots and Pawnee, and my father's family is English and German. And I was born in Kansas. :)

  3. Excellent Christmas post about traditions for Switzerland. There are no specific traditions from our heritage except the reading of the Christmas story and having a nativity scene displayed.

    1. We read the Christmas story every year and I collect Nativity scenes. :) Merry Christmas!