Swiss Customs and Traditions
The Swiss have always maintained and nurtured their own local customs, and because of this, Switzerland is a country with an enormous wealth of cultural activity and living tradition. These are the 5 experiences not to be missed when visiting Switzerland. Surrounded by breath-taking natural beauty, snow-capped peaks, and emerald-green slopes it’s a nature lovers heaven.
No matter whether there is dancing taking place or not, Swiss folk music is mainly
The most commonly heard musical instruments include the "Schwyzerörgeli" (accordion), the
violin, bass violin, clarinet and, in certain regions, the dulcimer or Trümpi (Jew's harp). Alpine
folk music developed with the unwritten transfer of skills and compositions over generations,
decades and even centuries.
Alpine farming has a long history. It is believed that the pastures above the tree line were
being farmed as far back as 4,000 BC.
The production of cheese in the summer enabled people to preserve milk and stockpile it for
the long winter months. The practice of Alpine farming gave birth to various customs such
as the festive processions up into the Alps and down from the mountains, the call to prayer,
the Älplerchilbi carnival and the Chästteilet cheese sharing - traditions that have been carefully
maintained to this day.
For a long time, Swiss sports customs were eclipsed by international types of sport - but
recently, they have come back into their own.
While regional and local sporting traditions have often been neglected, there are some sports
that have enjoyed increasing popularity. Major events such as the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine
Festival ESAF are increasing in popularity; in 2010, the festival reached a new record with
250,000 visitors and became the largest Schwingen festival ever held.
Folk traditions throughout the year
Switzerland has many customs that are tied to the calendar - most are of pagan origin or have
a religious connection.
The festivals celebrated in Switzerland differ considerably depending on the season
and the region. Some are based on ancient traditions while others have emerged only
recently. Many of them reflect the course of the agricultural year, such as the ringing in of the
vineyard workers in spring, the Alpine ascent and descent during the summer months, and the
Typical food and wine
The food in Switzerland is a potpourri of influences from various countries. It combines the
cuisines of its neighbours and creates from them a local cuisine with local ingredients.
There are a few dishes and specialities, such as fondue, Älplermagronen and chocolate, that
are typical of Switzerland, but there is no real Swiss cuisine to speak of. There is a cuisine with
Bernese Platter and Bernese Rösti. A cuisine with Vaud sausage and leeks. A cuisine with
St Gallen Ribelmais and whitefish from Lake Constance.
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