In no other region in Switzerland are traditions and customs observed as passionately as in the Appenzellerland. Starting in mid-May, cattle are driven up to the mountains by the herdsmen dressed in traditional folk costumes. Wearing a “Kranzrock” or traditional skirt, cameo jewellery and a “Mailändertuch”, or Milanese scarf, the locals gather at the “Stobete”, the merry herdsmen’s festival featuring a string music ensemble. In the autumn, the prettiest cow is awarded a prize at the “Viehschauen” cattle show. Our customs stay with us year after year.
On 31 December and 13 January, «Old New Year's Eve», the «Chläuse» make their way around the Appenzell hinterland. The origin and meaning of this ancient custom are the subject of speculation, because few written documents exist.
The Bloch is a peculiar carnival custom. A tree-trunk, expertly bound to a decorated waggon, is hauled in a procession through several villages.
Every year on the actual «Blochmontag» or Monday after Ash Wednesday, the boys of Hundwil, Stein and Schwellbrunn as well as men in Herisau haul their «Bloch» or tree-trunk through the villages.
On Ash Wednesday a straw effigy of Gidio Hosestoss, who choked to death on a stolen cookie, is laid on a waggon and a carnival procession takes him to his funeral.
On Bonfire Sunday Gidio is burnt in a huge bonfire lit in a suitable place.
Even today, the journey to and from the alpine pastures remains a red-letter day in farming life. The long trek up the mountain begins in the small hours, maybe around three a.m.
During the summer alpine season, lively dances are held which are popular with locals and visitors alike.
Individual cattle shows are held in the various villages of Ausserrhoden, while in Innerrhoden the Cantonal Cattle Show takes place in Appenzell at the beginning of October.
Still worn regularly – with pride
Further typical customs from the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden