We explored the countryside of canton Schwyz to discover the wonderful cheese dairies who are producing award-winning cheeses.
While on our visit, we learned about the traditional festivals held in this historical canton. We love connecting with people and sharing their local culture!
Our Discoveries in Schwyz
Overview of the Canton
Land Area: 907.89 km2
Population: 159 165 (December 2018)
Admission to the Swiss Confederation: 1291 (founding member)
Language: Swiss German
The Küssnachter Klausjagen (“Nicholas chase”)
We visited the town of Küssnacht on our trip to the canton of Schwyz. This is where we learned about a huge festival (approximately 20,000 visitors each year) that takes place on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day. It is known as one of the most impressive Santa Claus traditions in Europe.
The main attraction is the parade which consists of 1,600 participants who are organized into six different stages.
Stage 1: Men cracking long sheep whips
Stage 2: 270 Men wearing Iffelen, which are giant ornate paper hats lit inside by candles. The hats resemble the shape of a bishop’s miter or stained glass windows. The hats vary in size and can be up to 3 meters high and weigh 30 kilograms.
Stage 3: St Nicholas with four Schumtzlis wearing black hooded robes
Stage 4: Fanfare band playing traditional songs
Stage 5: Men ringing trycheln (traditional cowbells)
Stage 6: Men blowing cow horns
The history of Klausjagen comes from pagan traditions of chasing away evil spirits and demons from the town in the hope of a better harvest the following year.