Trychel Week and Ubersitz
It’s almost time for the Trychel Week and Ubersitz - an incredible ancient custom that takes place in the area around Grindelwald and Lake Brienz. The tradition includes a fascinating parade where the villagers use masks, bells, and giant cowbells to cast out evil spirits.
An ancient Celtic ritual in Switzerland
In the village of Grindelwald, the week of Trychel begins exactly at midnight on December 25, and ends with the Ubersitz, which is when schoolchildren march through the streets ringing cow bells. This tradition comes from the pre-Christian period of Swiss history.
At that time, mountain dwellers believed that the dead would come to haunt the living in the five long winter nights around the winter solstice; thus, they believed that the gruesome masks and loudness from cowbells would keep the spirits away. The ritual, which takes place in Canton Bern, is still honoured every year.
The inhabitants of the Haslital use drums, bells and cowbells to chase away these evil spirits back to the realm of the dead for five days and nights while maintaining a rhythmic march throughout the village. Each day, the marching gets larger and noisier, and the ceremony reaches its peak on December 30 with the Ubersitz, which brings the week to a deafening procession.
Witness this exclusive tradition
Check out the Bern visitor information website for more details on how to attend this spectacular tradition. The website also contains information about public transportation, how to arrive from other Swiss cities, and other attractions like nearby lakes and mountains.