Once a year, on the eve of Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, the town of Küsnacht-am-Rigi, a medieval picturesque village outside of Lucerne puts on a “Klausenjagt”; litteral translation “St. Nicholas Chase”.
This is a unique procession dating back to pre-Christian pagan times attended each year by about 20,000 people, consists of a parade of around 1,500 participants, and lasts far into the night.
The procession is organised in six stages.
- First come men cracking long two-handed sheep whips.
- Next come men wearing Iffelen or Infuln, which are enormous, incredibly ornate paper hats which resemble a cross between a bishop’s mitre and a stained glass window, lit from the inside by candles, and as much as seven feet tall.
- Behind them is St. Nicholas himself, with four attendants in black robes and hoods known as Schmutzlis, who hand out pastries.
- After them comes a brass band playing the traditional Klaus song, followed by a large group ringing trycheln, large bells which are descendants of cow bells.
- Lastly, the entire procession is followed by men blowing cow horns. Participants and watchers then generally head on to celebrations in local taverns.
What does this all have to do with ECHO Trails?
You see the medieval village on a number of our Day tours.