The 'weeping women'. Photo: Frederic Rochat/Romont Tourism
Weeping women, egg-smashing contests and decorated fountains... The Local picks out five quintessentially Swiss Easter events that are well worth experiencing.
Mendrisio: Easter procession, April 13th-14th
Dating from the 17th century, this is one of the most famous and impressive Easter events in Switzerland. In two processions on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday hundreds of participants re-enact the passion and crucifixion of Christ as they walk through streets decorated with traditional paper lanterns. The costumes date from 1898 and are so valuable that if it rains, the whole thing is called off. Thankfully the weather’s looking good this year.
Photo: Ticino Tourism
Romont: weeping women, April 14th
The village of Romont in the canton of Fribourg stages a haunting procession on Good Friday. Commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, 20 ‘pleureuses’ (weeping women) wearing black veils walk slowly through the town. On red cushions they carry symbols of the crucifixion – a crown of thorns, nails, hammer, birch sticks and a whip.
Nyon: Decorated fountains, now until April 23rd
Every year in Nyon on Lake Geneva there’s a competition to decorate the town’s fountains. Members of the local community including schoolchildren, local businesses, clubs and societies rise to the challenge. Members of the public can then tour the fountains for the chance to win a prize.
"It’s lovely to see the brightly decorated fountains at this time of year – they are a fun Easter tradition,” says local Catherine Nelson-Pollard, who runs the Living in Nyon
website. “They are on a route that takes you past the old town, the Roman museum, the Maiître Jacques statue, the castle etc, so if you are a visitor to the town you can see the key Nyon landmarks at the same time".
Fountain decoration created by the International Women's Club of Nyon. Photo: Catherine Nelson-Pollard/Living in Nyon
Bern: mass Eiertütschen, April 16th
The Eiertütschen (egg smash) is a fun Easter tradition across Switzerland where people attempt to crack each other’s boiled eggs (without breaking their own) before eating them. It’s usually done at home, but the Swiss capital likes to go public by organizing a big egg smashing competition on Easter Sunday. Gather at 10am at the Kornhausplatz and bring your own eggs.
Photo: Bern Tourism
Zurich: Zwänzgerle, April 17th
Zurich has its own variation of the Eiertütschen, the Zwänzgerle. On Easter Monday children and adults gather at Rüdenplatz armed with boiled eggs. Each child holds up an egg and an adult stands opposite and throws a 20 cent coin at the egg. If the coin cracks the shell and sticks in the egg, the adult claims the egg. If it doesn’t, the child claims the coin. Sound like the kids are likely to come away a little bit richer...
Photo: Valeriano Di Domenico/Zurich Tourism