Swiss Easter traditions – old & new

March 18, 2019 — No comments

Eierleset (egg hunting) in Cantons Basel, Aargau & Solothurn

Swiss Easter Traditions - old & newWith some variation depending on the Canton, this age-old tradition is held similarly in one of two versions: either as a pure sports competition or a competition in dress up costumes.

Dress up is as important as the competition itself in the latter version. On the Sunday after Easter, two groups of competing runners – one dressed up representing winter, the other spring – collect as many of the one hundred raw eggs in their team’s basket as possible. The eggs are placed in sawdust rows and must be picked one-by-one. With every tenth egg special tasks need to be completed, like throwing the raw egg from a distance into a wide basket. Cheating and all sorts of trickery are encouraged, but in the end, the spring group has to win, even if winter has to hold back a little. The tradition goes back to at least 1556 when it is first mentioned in writing in Basel. Everyone participates in the “Eiertätschet” (cracking a fully cooked egg against that of a partner). The expectation is that the strength of the egg enters the eater and that fertile spring will start in the land.


Swiss Easter traditions - old & new…are two small wooden boards, cut out on one side so they can be hung on both sides of the middle finger. When shaken, they make a distinct, rhythmical sound.

From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday you can hear “Chlefeli” everywhere in the villages of Brunnen and Schwyz. Five weeks ahead, children as young as Kindergarten are practicing the age old instrument for the price winning, week-long competition just before Easter. Chlefeli may originate from the Spanish castagnettes or from the Middle Ages, when lepers and others with communicable diseaes were required to announce themselves. Watch the short video to hear this amazing instrument played by the proud youngsters from Brunnen and Schwyz.

Easter Monday Blue-Egg-Swim – Lake Greifensee

Blue Egg Swim Lake GreifenseeThe swimming season starts Easter Monday! For the 14th year, families and individuals go Easter Egg hunting in the Lake Greifensee. Temperature? Anywhere between 5° and 15°, depending on the weather. Start is at the public lake area. The crowds will cheer you on while you swim twenty meters to the diving platform. Get out of the water, capture your egg, return it safely to shore and it is yours to enjoy! Other rewards will be egg soup, tea, Kafi Lutz,  punch and – of course – you get to crack your egg with your fellow Easter Egg swimmers!

Organizers Harald Müller and Mike Mitchell decided to initiate the Easter Egg Swim between the Santa Swim in Zürich and New Year’s Eve Swim in Geneva. Participation increases every year and swimmers are aged 6 to 82 – so far. No need to register, just show up and have a great time!

Share one of your favorite Swiss Easter traditions and leave a comment here.

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust


Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Swiss Easter Traditions old & new

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Eierleset in Effingen

Photos: wikki.commons

Swiss Easter traditions - old & new

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Easter Monday blue egg swim

Photos: Blue egg swim

Swiss Easter Traditions
Blue egg swim


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