Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland
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 sheep whips, then the lighted iffelen, followed by Samichlaus himself, then men with cow bells, and last cow horns.
Children wearing iffelen crowd the street.
Then comes Samichlaus himself, with a Schmutzli and donkey
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 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