Culture and traditions

Swiss customs and traditions

Switzerland is a small country in Europe whose culture we find interesting traditions and festivals. In this article, we talk about the customs and the most important habits of the Swiss, some of which may be strange for people from other countries.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

A few weeks before Christmas arrives, on December 6, Saint Nicholas is celebrated. The night before is known as Klausbräuche. In it, children recite poems called Samichlaus-Sprüche to St. Nicholas and his assistant, and they give them candy.

The little ones usually have a Advent Calendar, which count the days until Christmas arrives. This calendar has a sweet or small gift for each day.

Traditionally, in Switzerland the Christmas tree does not get until Christmas Eve and is decorated with candles. It is also typical to prepare homemade cookies.

Also, at the end of the year parades are organized in which people are dressed up and making noise, or playing instruments. In this way, they expel demons and evil spirits so that the new year goes well.

Another Christmas custom is that of the star songs, which are organized on the fourth Sunday of Advent and on January 6. These days, the singers or Sternsinger They go from house to house, or sing in the square.

Gastronomic customs

One of Switzerland's star products is cheese. The most valued is the alpine cheese, because it is only made in summer with the milk of cows in the Alps. When summer ends, the farmers come down with the animals decorated with flowers, which attracts visitors.

Also, cheese fondue is prepared on each special occasion. Another typical cheese dish is the raclette. This consists of melted cheese with cooked potatoes, cucumber and pickled onions. Nor should we forget Swiss chocolate, a sweet valued worldwide for its quality and flavor.


Swiss weddings are somewhat different from those in other parts of the world, since in them the guests are not usually dressed too elegantly. In addition, the banquet menu does not have to be fancy or sophisticated.

In some towns, a strange tradition is conserved that consists of throwing mud to the bride the day before the wedding. This mud is made with products such as tomatoes and beer, so its smell is quite unpleasant.

Social customs

Since childhood, the Swiss are educated to show respect for all people and help the most disadvantaged. Also, punctuality is important to them.

When greeting, you usually shake hands. However, friends and family give each other three kisses, especially in the French zone of the country. On the other hand, the people of Switzerland care a lot about caring for the environment, so recycling is widespread.

As for the language, four different languages ​​are spoken in the country and, depending on the canton we are in, we will have to use one or the other. If you want more information about this, we recommend this article: What language is spoken in Switzerland?


August 1 is National Holiday in Switzerland. This day recalls the creation of the Charter of Confederation sworn by the cantons in 1291, with which they promised to help each other. Parades are organized in different cities and fireworks are launched.

One of the most important holidays in the country is the Carnival. This is organized before Lent, although the most famous, the one in Basel, begins on Monday after Ash Wednesday.

That day, at four o'clock in the morning, all the lights of the population go out, it is illuminated with lanterns and drums are played. This event is called Morgenstreich. Also, costume parades concentrate more than 10,000 people.

The Federal Fiesta del Yodel is organized every three years. In it, around 10,000 singers, alpine horn musicians and flag throwers meet for three days at the beginning of summer. Every year it is organized in a different municipality.

On the other hand, in Berja a curious competition takes place in Easter, which consists in hitting the opponent with the point of an egg. The eggs are usually painted and decorated.


The traditional instrument of Switzerland is the alpine tube. This was invented in the 16th century, is built of wood and measures around 3.5 m long. In the past, it was used to call cows. It was also used by farmers in the Alps to communicate with each other, as they were separated by great distances. At present, they know how to play around 1,800 people.

Tyrolean singing was also used by farmers for their communication. Currently, it is performed in groups of two to five people, especially in the German and French areas.

The country's folk music is called Ländlermusik. This is usually accompanied by accordion, saxophone and bass. There are seven styles, including Grisons, Central Switzerland and Appenzell.


One of the most typical sports is the Hornussen, since its beginning dates from the fifteenth century. In this two teams participate, trying to hit and send a disc called Nouss as far away as possible.

The matches usually last more than three hours. Every three years an important competition known as Eidgenössisches Hornusserfest.

On the other hand, the sports that the Swiss like the most are those that are done outdoors, such as hiking. In addition, they take advantage of the winter months to practice skiing.

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