The best New Year’s traditions in Switzerland

The best New Year’s traditions in Switzerland

Still have no plans for New Year? Let us help you get in the spirit of the holidays with these great Swiss New Year's traditions!

What do people in Switzerland do on New Year’s Eve?

Each country has its own traditions for New Year’s Eve, but Switzerland’s customs for New Year are truly unique! Here are some of the interesting things people in Switzerland get up to on New Year!

Eat Cheese

While there’s never a bad moment to indulge in some perfect fromage, New Year’s Eve is one of the best times to really dig in! Whether it’s a fondue or Raclette, New Year’s Eve provides a great opportunity for you to come together with family and friends over some delicious Swiss cheese

On New Year’s Eve, Swiss people are also known for eating Fleischfondue or Fondue Chinoise - a fondue that uses oil or broth as the basis for cooking meat and vegetables together with guests at home.  Meat fondue in Switzerland

Drop ice cream on the ground

As far as unusual New Year’s traditions go, this has got to be one of the best! Supposedly, dropping ice cream on the ground should bring you good luck for the days to come. Lots of people in Switzerland dispute this tradition though, saying that they’d much rather eat the ice cream, instead of flinging it on the floor - fair enough!

Traditions for good luck

Dropping ice cream on the ground is just one New Year’s tradition said to bring you good luck. Some other New Year traditions in Switzerland come from a religious background, such as Räuchle in the Swiss town of Appenzell. This tradition involves altar boys walking the streets of the town with smoking barrels, and burning frankincense to keep away demons and bless the local residents. Some people also do this at home by burning hot coal in a pan with frankincense. 

In the mountains near Bern, drummers and bell ringers make their way across villages between Christmas and New Year, using their rhythms to "chase away" evil spirits. On New Year’s Eve, the groups come together in the town of Meiringen for one last symbolic demon-killing. 

Switzerland’s New Year’s traditions

Now that you know a little more about Switzerland’s New Year’s traditions, it’s time to get stuck in! Whether you have lots of Swiss friends or are going to be hanging out with other internationals, be sure to try some of these great Swiss traditions for New Year, so you can be sure to start 2024 with a bang!



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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