Customs and Traditions

Customs and Traditions

Switzerland, four national languages are spoken in addition to numerous dialects. There is also a distinction between the culture in the mountains and the culture on the central plateau, while life in a mountain valley is different from that in the big city.
Switzerland lies at the crossroads between several major European cultures. Three of the continent’s major languages, German, French and Italian, are national languages of Switzerland, along with Romansh, spoken by a small minority. Therefore, the Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in a wide range of customs and traditions.
Swiss folk art is kept alive all over the country, mostly through music, dance, poetry, woodcarving and embroidery. For centuries, Alpine folk music was passed orally from generation to generation. The oldest known Kuhreihen (rounds) are from Appenzell and were recorded in 1545. The Alphorn, also typically Swiss, was originally a musical and signaling instrument used by herdsmen, and also yodeling choirs that have been formed since the 19th century.
The alphorn, or the alpenhorn, is a trumpet-like musical instrument made of wood. The alphorn is very popular in mountainous regions, and like yodeling or the accordion, it has become an emblem of traditional Swiss music.

The Swiss cherish their wonderful traditions, and the little country has a tremendous selection of spectacular events that are famous far beyond the country’s borders.
The festivals celebrated in Switzerland differ considerably depending on the season and the region. Some are based on ancient traditions while others have emerged only recently. Many of them reflect the course of the agricultural year, such as the ringing in of the vineyard workers in spring, the Alpine ascent and descent during the summer months, and the wine festivals, the Chästeilet cheese sharing and the Älplerchilbi carnivals in autumn.

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