The Harder-Potschete is a fascinating masked tradition that takes place every year on January 2nd in Interlaken. On this day, the Hardermann, his Wyb (wife) and the Potschen followers roam the streets of Interlaken. The Potschen are masked figures who shout, dance and carry the spectators away to spread fear and terror.
This traditional procession has followed a fixed route for decades, leading from the market square via Unterseen back to the starting point. The streets of Interlaken are filled with expectant spectators eagerly waiting to see the Hardermannli and his Potschen.
The Hardermannli, the central figure of the procession, carries a wooden stick in his hand and, together with the Potschen, lends the scene a spooky atmosphere. The Harder-Potschete is an impressive spectacle that captivates spectators and provides an insight into the old customs and traditions of the region. It is an event that keeps the history and cultural heritage of Interlaken alive and brings people together to celebrate the fascinating world of masks and customs.
Hidden in the picturesque mountains of Interlaken, below the Harder summit, is a fascinating rockfall that naturally reveals the huge face and imposing shoulders of a man. This impressive likeness is affectionately known as the “Hardermannli” and is known in the area as the living embodiment of the evil mountain spirit, as the legend goes. The Hardermannli is the central element of the traditional Harder-Potschete custom.
On January 2nd each year, the Hardermannli, together with his Wyb (wife) and the Potschen, his henchmen, make their way down to the people on the Bödeli, a village near Interlaken. The Potschen are masked figures who terrify the spectators with their wild goings-on during this captivating custom. The procession is accompanied by a noisy spectacle that serves to drive away the evil spirits of winter.
The Hardermannli symbolically embodies the dark and sinister that seems to reign over the land in winter. The Harder-Potschete is an ancient custom that celebrates the return of light and the overcoming of darkness. As soon as the Hardermannli retreats, it symbolizes the victory of light and the beginning of a new time of awakening and hope amidst the wintry landscape of Interlaken. The traditional Harder-Potschete festival is a truly unique experience that brings people from the region together and brings an old legend to life.
Video Harder-Potschete Interlaken