Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Santa Claus and Schmutzli

Since Christmas is once again upon us and December 6th mark's Saint Nicholas Day, I thought I would share with you how the tradition is here in Switzerland. Today in the town center at 5:30 pm, Samichlaus and Schmutzli will be there to see kids. You see, here in Switzerland they have Samichlaus for the good kids and Schmutzli for the bad kids.

Schmutzli is a man dressed all in black and carries a burlap sack and a whip. Legend has it that children who were on the naughty list were actually put into the burlap sack and whipped a long time ago. That doesn't happen these days, but Schmutli is always present at Santa's side.

His duties are usually done by December 6th and he now passes out peanuts and oranges. They usually arrive with a donkey with them as well. Here is a picture.

Now I know Geno is afraid of Santa Claus. How do you think he'll react to Schmutzli?

On Friday December 5th, Coretta and I hope to go to this:

Küssnachter Klausjagen

Küssnacht at the foot of the world famous Rigi comes alive on the night of December 5th, when thousands of people come to see an old tradition known as "Klausjagen".

The event begins at 20:15 when the lights of Küssnacht go out and a procession of sound and light fills the streets, celebrating St. Nicholas's Day. The sounds are made by groups of people ringing bells, blowing horns and cracking whips, and the lights come from folks wearing huge paper bishops hats, some as large as 6 feet high, lit from within by candles.

It is a celebration of light and sound that few people should miss.


1 comment:

betsy said...

loving it...sounds so cool. You are certainly having a wonderful learing experience in your new homeland...Merry Xmas