The Klausjagen festival in Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland, culminates with a full day of activities. The children's parade is in the afternoon, followed in the evening by the mens's Klausjagen that goes through the village two times, repeating in the early hours of the morning. The parade begins with men cracking sheeps whips, then the lighted iffelen, followed by Samichlaus himself, then men with cow bells, and last cow horns.
The children's parade begins with boys cracking whips, followed by children wearing iffelen.
Children wearing iffelen crowd the street.
Then comes Samichlaus himself, with a Schmutzli and donkey
1700 men take part in the Klausjagen evening and night processions. First come men cracking long sheep whips.
One hundred eighty young men dance, wearing tall, lighted iffelen.
Then come Samichlaus and Schmutzli, followed by trumpeters.
Seven hundred Klausjäger ring huge heavy cow bells, ringing together as one.
Last come two hundred men blowing cow horns in unison: two short tones, then one long.
More about iffele
Iffelen are 3–6 feet tall.
Iffelen are made from heavy pasteboard. Highly detailed designs are cut out; usually with St. Nicholas one side and IHS for Jesus Christ on the other. Colored tissue paper is put inside over the cut-outs. Candles light iffelen from the inside.
Photos: Jo Hermanns, used by permission