Skip to main content

Pumpkin vs. Räbeliechtli

Halloween is just around the corner and while I believe every culture should have it's share of interesting holidays and traditions I must admit don't really appreciate when a "foreign" holiday is imported to Switzerland - especially when it's mainly for money making reasons such as Halloween.

Ten years ago nobody was celebrating this holiday but nowadays the stores are full of costumes, candy and other Halloween-y decoration articles. I'd much rather see people pick up on older traditions that slowly fade into history - but maybe I'm just a nostalgic.

Räbeliechtli - by Natalie Kramer

Carving a Turnip in Switzerland

Thus, as people are carving their pumpkins around the world children in Switzerland will get ready to carve their turnips (and many crafty adults as well). True, the actual season for the Räbeliechtli (turnip lanterns) starts in November and is basically one of many Christmas season traditions here in Switzerland but I believe creating a beautiful lantern is fun even already in October. As the days are quickly getting shorter who would say no to a little pretty light?!

Carving your own turnips is easy when you follow a few basic instructions and tips. Natalie over at schaeresteipapier put together this excellent guide for carving turnips (in German only). Once you've bought a decent sized turnips or turnip you cut off a lid, carve out the inside of it with a knife or spoon and then carve patterns or a design into its side. The challenge is always to make the walls of your Räbeliechtli thin enough to allow the light of a candle to filter to the outside through the carvings but thick enough so it will remain stable.

If you're interested in giving it a try, here's also a short video of how to carve your turnip:



PS: All this goes beyond saying that we Swiss also like a good pumpkin or squash dish. Pumpkin soup is quite popular here but only few people have tasted pumpkin pie - too bad, I think it's a delicious treat!






© 2014 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Typical Swiss Birthday Party

Birthday Cake - Helene Souza  / pixelio.de My son and I recently attended a birthday party here in Cocachimba , Peru. It was the birthday of one of the kids in the village and since it's such a small place, almost everyone is invited. To be honest, I don't like going to children's birthday parties - or grown up's birthday parties - because there is usually too much noise and fuss and chaos. My husband usually takes it on himself to accompany our son to these birthdays but this time he was away so I had to step in. If you've never been to a Peruvian birthday party, let me tell you one thing: it's loud and crowded! There is dancing and food and once in a while people are trying to say something above the deafening noise of the music. I guess, if you grew up with this it's probably normal and enjoyable but for me it was way too much noise. I could see all the children's ear go deaf in my minds eyes. Argh. Probably one of those cultural differences you

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed. This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people.  However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not. 10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person

Schätzli, Schnüggel and Müüsli - Terms of Endearment in Swiss German

Kiss -  Oliver Haja  / pixelio.de If you've ever been invited to the home of a Swiss couple, you are probably familiar with the most popular Swiss German term of endearment "Schätzli" ('little treasure') or one of it's many varieties like e.g. "Schatz" or "Schätzeli" . Obviously, this is not the only pet name used by Swiss couples (or parents for that matter). Like many other languages, Swiss German offers a wide variety of words and phrases that you can use to address your loved one. Swiss German Terms of Endearment What most of these pet names have in common is the ending "-li" which basically turns the thing or person a word refers to into something small or cute. For example "Haus" means house and "Hüüs li " means small house. Plus, this ending "-li" can also be added to first names as a means of endearment, e.g. Benjamin li , Esther li or Fabienne li . I tried to come up with a colle