Geisslechlöpfen – Whip Cracking – Swiss tradition

Customs Lake Lucerne Region

Geisslechlöpfen, also known as Geissechlepfen, is a fascinating custom with roots in pre-Christian times. Similar to carnival, this ritual aims to drive away evil spirits, demons and, above all, winter spirits by cracking the whip. With Christianization, this ancient custom took on a Christian meaning when it was combined with the announcement of St. Nicholas. Whip cracking is practiced by people of all ages and is a living and authentic element of regional culture and tradition.

Geisslechlepfen in Schwyz

Geisslechlepfen in Schwyz

The whip cracker holds the stick firmly with both hands and swings the attached scourge forward with a jerky movement. The tip reaches a speed that exceeds the sound, and a loud bang pierces the dark Advent night.

Priis-Chlepfä in Schwyz

At the traditional Priss-Chlepfä on the main square in Schwyz, the most talented Geissechlepfer (whip cracker) have been competing every year on Epiphany, January 6, for generations. The best Geisselchlepfer in the canton take part in this competition and produce powerful and artistic bangs with their Geissel. A jury evaluates the more than one hundred participants who compete for the coveted title of best Chlepfers.

This custom is practiced in Switzerland at various folklore events, such as the annual Rigi-Schwinget. The Geisslechlöpfen is a fascinating spectacle that impresses spectators with its acoustic effect and enriches the festive atmosphere of the event. It is an important part of regional traditions and attracts both locals and visitors.

Video Geisslechlöpfen at the Rigi-Schwinget

„Geisslechlöpfe“🇨🇭 ein typisch schweizerischer Brauch

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Video Ulrich Fredy winner seniors

Priis-Chlepfä on January 6, 2017 in Schwyz, Fredy Ulrich, winner among the seniors

Ulrich Fredy Sieger Senioren

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