Skip to main content

5 Swiss Christmas Traditions You Shouldn't Miss

Christmas Cookies - gänseblümchen / pixelio.de 

Christmas season is just around the corner and all over Switzerland the streets are full of Christmas lights and decorations. There are certain aspects of Christmas that are pretty universal, e.g. the gifts, the tree and the lights. Yet, every country and region developed it's own style of celebrating this holiday and Switzerland is no exception. However, customs and traditions don't stop at official borders so it is very likely that our nearest neighbors have very similar Christmas traditions!

5 Swiss Christmas Traditions

If you happen to be in Switzerland during the Christmas season or if you live here, you should take advantage of it and delve into some fun Swiss Christmas activities. If you don't know where to start, here is my list of not-to-miss Swiss Christmas Traditions.
  1. Cookie Baking: Yes, almost every Swiss family will bake several batches of Christmas Cookies. There are so many different kinds: Zimtsterne, Chräbbeli, Mailänderli, Brunsli and more! We bake them and love to give away neatly arranged and filled cookie boxes or bags. So good!
  2. Poems for Santa: Santa visits Switzerland on December 6th and it is custom for children to recite short Christmas poems for him. He then gives them mandarines and peanuts!
  3. Christmas Calendar: Either a store bought or home made Christmas Calendar can be seen in most Swiss homes during the holiday season. It's a fun way to count down the days until Christmas Eve!
  4. Advent Windows: Much like Christmas Calendars, Advent Windows count down the days to Christmas Eve. Only, that they are real windows that families all over the village decorate!
  5. Räbeliechtli: In the end of November you can see small parades of turnip lanterns all over Switzerland. Children carve them at school with their teachers and parents and will walk them singing through the villages.





© 2016 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Comments

  1. It's really nice to be reminded of the Christmas traditions here. Having lived in Geneva for over 18 years,which for many is not really Swiss, there are still signs of these Christmas traditions. For instance a friend of mine who is married to a Swiss German gave me an empty biscuit tin in early December. Little does she know that I am not a baker, so regrettably the tin is still empty. Being Jamaican however I continue to associate Christmas with my favorite meals back home and wrote a short blog about the cuisine - http://www.experiencejamaique.com/it's-christmas.
    Maybe I'll try baking some cookies next year with Migro's complimentary cookie cutter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, every country has their own Christmas traditions and foods. I'm sure Jamaican Christmas is quite different from a Swiss Christmas. I hope you get to enjoy both!

      Delete

Post a Comment

You have something to add or would like to ask a question? I would love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

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 So,…

10 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland

The weather has been so so these last few days and will remain rainy and rather cold. No swimming in one of the many lakes of Switzerland, going on a nice bike trip or playing soccer outside unless you are willing to endure some heavy rain.
10 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland However, there are plenty of fun things to do in Switzerland even on rainy days. Here's the list of my current favorite rainy day activities:
Alpamare: Biggest water park of Switzerland with dozens of water slides and pools. It's open all year round since most of the baths and slides are indoors. It is perfect for a rainy day since there are usually less people than on a sunny day.Zoo Zurich: The famous zoo in Zurich features bears, elephants, monkeys, tigers and the mazoala hall (a tropical glass house). Many animals can be visited in their houses.Swiss National Museum: The Swiss National Museum in Zurich gives an overview over the cultural history of Switzerland. Swiss Museum of Transport:…

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

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 "Hüüsli" means small house. Plus, this ending "-li" can also be added to first names as a means of endearment, e.g. Benjaminli, Estherli or Fabienneli.

I tried to come up with a collection of Swiss German pet names but realized I only k…