Chalandamarz - The First of March

Chalandamarz - The First of March

Mar 01, 2024
St. Moritz, Zuoz

Are you tired of the cold weather? Don’t you worry, the children of many parts of the Engadine and other valleys in the Swiss canton of Graubünden will chase winter away during the traditional customs of Chalandamarz! 

The traditional festivities, on which the children’s story A bell for Ursli by Selina Chönz is based, are celebrated every year on the first of March and create an event that is a joy to watch!

The traditional bells and whips of Chalandamarz

Every year on March 1, children donned in traditional blue and red can be seen roaming through the villages of the Engadine mountain region, joyfully ringing their cowbells and singing. You will also hear whips cracking as part of the traditional celebrations to chase away winter ghosts so spring can begin.

Traditionally the Chalandamarz festival mostly includes boys, while girls will be found folding colourful paper flowers to decorate the bells. However, some villages in recent years have allowed girls to actively participate in the celebrations too. 

A children’s festival on the first of March

There can be different traditions for the Chalandamarz festival in the various villages that take part. Each village shows its diversity while keeping the main elements of song singing, bell ringing and whip cracking. 

In some villages, households or spectators may give the children a tidy sum for the school trip fund while they pass through the village. Other possible traditions include an ascent to the alpine pastures while herding cows, sheep and goats. 

See the Chalandamarz festivals for yourself!

If you want to see entertaining and wholesome parades, then you don’t want to miss out on the Chalandamarz festivals taking place throughout the Swiss mountains of the Engadine. You can find out more about the festivities and where to see them on the Chalandamarz event page.

Thumb image credit: Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus AG