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.
No matter whether people get up to dance or not, most Swiss folk music is dance music.
Alphorn – the sound of nature
The alphorn is regarded as a typically Swiss instrument. The warm tones of this original instrument carry far - which is probably the reason it was once used by shepherds to communicate with each other.
Yodelling – it’s all in the voice
If you’re not so good at remembering the words when you are singing, you should try yodelling, as this original form of singing is done without words. It was only in the 19th century that some yodel choirs added lyrics to their singing.
There are a number of local groups devoted to “Ländler” music, one of the most well-known types of Swiss folk music. Most of the players are – however brilliant – amateurs, whose reputations don’t usually extend beyond their own regions.
On the Alp
A great many customs can be found in alpine farming. It has a long-standing history and tradition. Driving the cattle up to the alpine pastures in May and returning them to lower regions in September, for example, is an important tradition, with animals richly adorned and humans dressed in their traditional costumes.
Customs and sports
For a long time, Swiss sports customs were eclipsed by international types of sport - but recently, they have come back into their own.
We think “Schwingen” or Swiss wrestling deserves special mention. In the past, it was a trial of strength at alpine fairs for both alpine and lowland farmers. In this day and age, it is an official sport with clear rules and “Schwinger” champions known throughout Switzerland.
Moreover, there are many traditions on set dates of the year – most of them have a pagan or religious background.