Monday, 7 January 2008

Appenzell - Silversterklausen


We've had quite a lot of winter sports recently on TST, so here's a traditional custom to be getting on with.

To be honest, the more I write about this country, the more I am convinced it's a great (and diverse) place to live or visit.

Silvesterklausen takes place in Appenzell, particularly in the communes of Urnäsch, Schönengrund, Schwellbrunn, Waldstatt, Herisau, Hundwil, Stein, and Teufen.

Apparently (and I may well be wrong on this!) the idea is to distinguish between different types of Santa Claus - beautiful ones, ugly ones and the natural  or forest ones. And I thought there was only the one in the Coca-Cola sponsored suit...

The Chläuse (or Klause) are apparently based on a demonic cult that apparently merged with vegetation and fertility cults near Urnäsch, situated in the valley below Schwägalp.

It's now become more widespread (as listed above) and Old New Year's Eve, January 13, is the main cause for celebration. Something to do with the Julian calendar change apparently; Appenzell isn't known for being progressive, women there have only had the vote for nearly 40 years...

If you'd like to get involved, or at least see strange men and boys dressed in costumes, pop along to one of the villages on 13 January; Urnäsch probably being the place to be.

The action starts at dawn, but there'll be something to see all day.

See for a better explanation of what it's all about!

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