Customs and Traditions

The Swiss have always maintained and nurtured their own local customs, and because of this, Switzerland is a country with an enormous wealth of cultural activity and living tradition.

La suisse n'existe pas» (Switzerland does not exist) – in this one key sentence Switzerland introduced itself at the World Exposition in Seville in 1992. This was because it is not uniformity, but variety in a small space that defines Switzerland. This can be explained culturally and geographically: In little Switzerland, four national languages are spoken in addition to numerous dialects. There is also a distinction between the culture in the mountains and the culture on the central plateau, while life in a mountain valley is different from that in the big city. So, although there are numerous regional traditions there are relatively few national customs. However, over time and with the increase in tourism, there are some local customs that have achieved national fame.

Music
No matter whether there is dancing taking place or not, Swiss folk music is mainly dance music.
The most commonly heard musical instruments include the "Schwyzerörgeli" (accordion), the violin, bass violin, clarinet and, in certain regions, the dulcimer or Trümpi (Jew's harp). Alpine folk music developed with the unwritten transfer of skills and compositions over generations, decades and even centuries. The oldest known Kuhreihen (rounds) are from Appenzell and were recorded in 1545. The Alphorn, so typically Swiss, was originally a musical and signaling instrument used by the herdsmen and the many yodeling choirs that have been formed since the 19th century. In general, Switzerland has an extensive amateur music scene, and in virtually every village there is at least a choir or a brass band

Photographs
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