The celebration of Epiphany

Today Christianity celebrates Epiphany, or the revelation of Jesus Christ to humanity. Since living in Switzerland I tough that the catholic feast of the Three Kings was something else entirely than the orthodox one I was used to, Boboteaza = Baptism.  It took me a while to understand that western…

A Christmas tradition from Appenzell Inner-Rhodes

Here comes a Christmas tradition from a special canton of Switzerland, Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, the smallest Swiss federal state by population number and the last one to award women the right to vote in cantonal elections (only in 1991). Appenzell Inner-Rhodes is most known for the practice of Landsgemeinde, open voting by…

On the steps of Saint Nicholas

I still have one of the toys that Saint Nicholas left in my boots when I was a child, it’s a mother gorilla stuffed toy holding a baby gorilla in her arms. I had named her Uga because at that time I thought she looked like the daughter of Ugo…

New Year’s Cheese Pie

When I was a child, my grandmother and my mother would bake each year on this day our New Year’s fortune pie. Only recently in my ethnological pursuits I found out this was customary for the entire region where I was born, as part of the time renewal ritual practices.…

The Sense Headdress

The Sense folk costume is unique in Switzerland, this type used to be worn by girls upon marriage. The headdress was marker of the marital status, like allover Europe and in other parts of the world. Nowadays the traditional costume is worn for the catholic Corpus Christi processions in Tafers…