The romantic Christmas season is over and soon 2020 will finally come to an end. The time between Christmas and New Year, so close to the end of the year, always makes me feel a tad nostalgic. The older I get, the more I wish I could somehow extend the year a little bit.
As that’s not a possibility, let’s celebrate what is coming to an end and what may come. This year, we have a sparkling Gin Cocktail (recipe below). But before we get to the gin, let’s take a look at Swiss New Year’s Eve traditions. There are a few that I would like to introduce you to.
The large New Year’s celebration traditionally takes place in the village centre in the afternoon of January 1st. Locals and guests mingle and toast the New Year together. The highlight is the Hotsch race, where ten pigs from the region compete against one another. The winner is said to be the lucky charm for the new year.
Interlaken (Bernese Oberland)
The place is haunted by the Hardermannli, his “Wyb” and his entourage, the so-called Potschen. They wear artistically carved wooden masks and costumes, which are draped with beards and furs. After the traditional parade, people meet in the pubs for a cosy get-together.
Also in the Bernese Oberland, namely in Meiringen and other villages, the “Trychler” (bell-ringers) roam the villages for a whole week until the early morning hours. This ancient custom begins at midnight on December 26th and lasts until New Year’s Eve. With loud, rhythmic bell sounds, the traditionally dressed trychlers drive away the evil spirits every evening.
Achetringele is the New Year’s Eve custom on Lake Lucerne. Three different characters roam noisily through the place (with cowbells) and have been chasing away evil for centuries. They stop in the village squares, say goodbye to the old year in rhymes and welcome the new one.
It took a long time for the Appenzeller hinterlanders to accept the Gregorian calendar, so they celebrate the turn of the year twice; once on December 31st and again on January 13th. Central to the festivities are the Silvesterkläuse. They announce themselves with loud bells, yodel in multiple voices and in this way wishing good luck for the New Year. As a thank you, they receive (mostly highly concentrated) drinks.
In Basel, from half past twelve onwards, there are grandiose fireworks to be admired, and free mulled wine is served along the bank of the Rhine.
Starting at twenty-past twelve, Zurich has a 15-minute firework display every year. A brilliant firework display is fired from three ships on the lake signalling Zurich’s New Year.
Gin Cocktail Recipe
- 2-4 cl Turicum Gin (as desired)
- 4 oranges, freshly squeezed
- Rosemary sprigs
- A handful of frozen cranberries
We wish you a happy new year!