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Traditional handcrafts

Embroidered cowbell straps

Embroidered straps for cowbells
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It is worth taking note of the straps for the cowbells the next time you see a procession in Schwyz, for they are carefully handcrafted. Bells with straps involving such ornate needlework are also coveted prizes.
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Bell-making

Trychel for festive processions
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New Year’s Eve, Feast of Epiphany, Carnival or the Alpine farmer’s festival: the cowbell (trychel) renders this custom in Schwyz clearly audible from far and wide.
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Büchel

The alphorn's brother
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The büchel tradition with its characteristic music remains strong in Central Switzerland. The handmade instrument is crafted according to an ancient art.
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Chlefeli

Percussion instrument in folk music
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The chlefeli (which sound like spoons) are an integral part of folk music in Schwyz. Traditionally, many children in the valley basin of Schwyz walk through the village streets with chlefeli during Lent.
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Garlands for cows

Colourful flower arrangements
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Farmers traditionally adorn their cows for the descent from the Alp to the valley in the autumn or for cattle fairs. Cows that have won a prize wear especially beautiful garlands.
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Geissel

Schwyz variation of the whip
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Carnival in Schwyz would not be the same without the customary whips (geissel). They are made by hand, a craft that requires a great deal of experience and sure instinct.
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Horämänel

Horn sleds
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In times past Alpine farmers transported hay and wood from the mountain to the valley with horn sleds (called «Horämänel» in Swiss German). Nowadays these unique sleds are primarily used in races.
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Iffelen

Candle-lit headdress
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Without fail, spectators are impressed by the magnificent iffelen (bishop’s mitres) at every St. Nicholas procession. But there are many hours of work behind this splendid head adornment.
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Wax masks

Carnival masks
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Wax masks are a signature feature of Carnival groups in Central Switzerland. These masks are handcrafted according to an ancient tradition.
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