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Traditions in Switzerland

Traditions in Switzerland

Switzerland has got a rich history of contact with other cultures like German and French. In fact Italian culture also plays a prominent role in the arts and culture of this country. However it is not possible to speak of a homogeneous tradition as there is a very strong regionalism. In fact there is a strong Rhaeto-Romanic influence on the eastern Swiss mountains.

Thus there is a variety of traditions in Switzerland. Folk arts play an important role. This does not mean that it is expressed only with the help of autonomous bodies whose purpose is to eulogize folk traditions. Rather folk traditions exist through embroidery, wood carving, poetry, dance and music among the common people.

In fact these traditions also exist through local and regional rites that demarcate special times in the year. Yodeling is a very stereotypical activity in Switzerland but it is wrong to think that the whole country engages in this. Rather even this tradition is limited to only some mountain regions.

The alphorn is a musical instrument that plays a very important role in the music tradition of the country. It is unique to the Swiss culture and is a wooden musical instrument that looks like a trumpet. This instrument has been thought to show the "perfect form" which is needed for a musical 'wind' instrument. Even this musical instrument is found mainly in some mountainous regions of the country and has come to find a unique place in its tradition.

Folk culture in the Alpine region consists mainly of expressive dances. The part of Switzerland that speaks French is rich in musical ensembles.

The woodcarving tradition acquired new heights in the form of chip carving in the country. While in most other European countries, it is mostly a form of business, here in Switzerland, it is mostly seen as popular art. Everyday carved objects thus, play an important role in the popular culture of Switzerland.

For instance, walking sticks, wooden spoons, neckband used in bells and milk stools are fairly popular. Nativity figures carved of wood are fairly popular. In fact, one also finds houses whose facades are richly carved with wood.

One main feature of the woodcarving tradition is that this is mostly found in places where Protestant Christianity thrives. The places which consist mostly of Roman Catholics see less of the woodcarving tradition.

Embroidery is another common tradition though it is generally found in the clothing of women and is mostly limited to scarves, hats and cuffs. These are some of the prominent traditions of Switzerland and once you arrive here, you will enjoy them very much.

This site covers all areas for travelling in Switzerland. It covers travels to many switzerland cities: Basel, Berne, Geneva, Zerlmat, Interlaken. There is a comprehensive travel information section: Swiss Rail Train Tickets, Switzerland Rail Train Map, Swiss Train Rail Timetable, Information, RailCards and Passes, Air Travel

This page last updated in Feb 2016