Other countries may have the rich history, magnificent manger scenes. Switzerland is no exception to that rule all year round. However, it is especially special at Christmas time. Christmas traditions are alive and well in the streets and hill tops of Switzerland.
The Chlausjagen Festival
The Chlausjagen Festival or Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated at sunset on 6 December. This celebration features a procession of ‘lifeltrager‘ wearing gigantic illuminated lanterns in the shape of a Bishop’s mitre on their heads. Swiss traditions sees the masses awaiting the arrival the Christ child called Christkindli carrying with gifts for all in his reindeer-drawn sleigh. Silver bells are said to herald in the arrival of the Christkindli making the momentum leading up to his appearance wonderfully exciting for child and adult alike.
Very popular holiday activities during this time includes cross country, snow skiing, snowboarding, skating, ice fishing. Other must try activities are horseback riding, sleighing, snowmobiling just to name a few. Lake Geneva is perfect for exploring all the wonderful elements that make up this winter wonderland location as an ideal holiday spot. Lake Geneva has something for everyone.
The Great Electric Christmas Parade
The Annual Great Electric Christmas Parade is an annual night parade that sees the locals and foreigners alike come out to partake of the festivities. This Christmas parade features floats, lights, bands, horses. A Christmas parade could not possibly be a Christmas parade without Santa & Mrs. Claus. Holiday theater productions are also highly recommended for those who appreciate the arts and a little drama as it were. Productions are held throughout the winter holiday season so be sure to get your tickets in advance.
Another celebration to attend is the Festival of Lights which takes place the weekend of the Great Electric Christmas Parade. It is at this time you will find the hospitality of downtown shops, special holiday dishes in local restaurants, carriage rides, and tree lighting ceremony in front of the Riviera Ballroom, entertainers, and live reindeer, Father Christmas at your disposal and for your entertainment.
Snow Sculpting Competition
The Annual Winterfest & National Snow Sculpting Competition is fun for everyone. Lake Geneva is also the proud location for the National Snow Sculpting Competition which later becomes the focal point of the Winterfest, held the first weekend in February.
Recreational activities are an enormous part of the holiday celebration. It is for this reason that Lake Geneva makes for a fantastic holiday spot for couples, families and singletons. Most popular celebration activities include a wealth of food and great entertainment, helicopter rides and excursions around the lake area itself.
Competitions are available for those with the winning spirit to join during the holidays. With as many as fifteen teams compiled from states throughout the country – Alaska to Florida – brought together to compete for the national title the competition is stiff. Team consists of three members who spend approximately three days using a various hand tools carving a 6′ x 6′ x 10′ block of snow. So, safety first.
The Riviera Park (Wrigley Drive and the lakefront) during the first weekend in February is where this most prestigious competition takes place. With on watchers and competitors gathered this is sure to be one challenging yet fun day out. Other fun yet competitive events to join is the sample snow blocks voting in the “Peoples’ Choice” sculptured award.
Happy Holiday and don’t forget to have fun!
Photo of Lake Geneva, Switzerland in winter originally posted by 1Suisse