High-spirited, flowery, and exuberant spring customs

In the Engadin it's bells, in northwestern Switzerland it's eggs, in Geneva it's flowers, and in Finland it's simply a huge party. Welcome to spring!
«Chalandamarz» in the Engadin - a trip into the world of «A bell for Ursli»
Anyone familiar with the enchanting film «A bell for Ursli» will also be no stranger to the Chalandamarz, which takes place in the Engadin at the beginning of March: with songs, children swinging cowbells and a cheerful children's festival with dancing and music. The famous Chalandamarz song about the departure of the cattle from their dark stables into the bright spring can also be heard everywhere. But this is as far as the common features of this colorful custom in the various villages go: for sometimes it is purely a «boys’ thing», sometimes with girls and boys, sometimes traditional as in the film, and sometimes a carnival procession with satirical undertones. In short: the variety of different Chalandamarz traditions in each village reflects the multifaceted nature of the Engadin. But anyway. If you can attend this custom: it is really worth it.

Collecting eggs in northwestern Switzerland - race between spring and winter
As the egg is a symbol of life, it also stands for spring. That's why many communities in northwestern Switzerland chase away winter with an «Eierläset» (collecting eggs) on the Sunday after Easter. For this purpose, two lanes are prepared side by side, each with up to 100 heaps of sawdust, on each of which an egg is placed. Two groups take up the fight, one representing winter, the other spring. Now the runners rush to the farthest egg on the track, pick it up, hurry back and carefully throw it to the catcher, who tries to catch it with a basket filled with chaff. The winner is the team that first has all the eggs in the basket. It is strange, however, that the spring always wins! By the way, in many communities there is a huge omelet or a fried egg dinner for the whole population.
«Le Feuillu» - this is how Genevans welcome spring
This popular festival marks the return of spring on the first Sunday in May in numerous communities in the canton of Geneva. At the heart of the festivities is a children's parade. Wearing floral crowns, they sing and dance their way through the village. In the middle of the throng are the May King and Queen, who are carried along on a float, and the «Bête» (bogeyman) or «Feuillu» (broad-leafed tree), a figure made from branches and twigs. In some villages, the Feuillu is replaced by a tall pole bedecked with flowers and garlands, known as the May Tree. In Cartigny and Onex, local children clean the village fountains the day before the parade and decorate them with flowers. However, the conclusion by a pleasant snack is common everywhere.
«Vappu» - this is how Finland celebrates the spring
With us, May 1 is Labor Day, in Finland they celebrate the festival of spring on this date. It is called «Vappu», and it is cheerful, unusual, and very exuberant. Since the tradition was established by Finnish students, they are the center of attention. That's why all Finns who have graduated from high school at some point wear their graduation cap and their colorful overalls with great pride. Even the giant mermaid «Havis Amanda» on the market square is put on a student cap the day before to great cheers from the population. The latter follows the ritual with champagne bottles and cups, and then toasts happily. Vappu is a celebration spent with friends and family. Many gather in Kaivopuisto Park by the sea for a picnic, for which rich buffets and pavilions are set up. Special features? Typical is the slightly alcoholic drink Sima as well as the sweet pastry Tippaleipä baked in oil.

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