Inside Silvesterchlausen: Experiencing an Appenzell Tradition Up Close

On Saturday, I got the opportunity to experience a longstanding tradition from the canton of Appenzell Outer Rhodes: Silvesterchlausen. It takes place on the last day of the year, and since the Appenzellers resisted the Gregorian calendar for a very long time, many villages still celebrate Silvesterchlausen on the 13th of January, which is the last day of the year according to the Julian calendar.

For Silvesterchlausen, men (and sometimes boys) dress up in elaborate home-made costumes as either ugly, beautiful, or beautiful-ugly (which is somewhere in between) “Silvesterchläuse”. They then march through the villages and stop at many houses to yodel and receive drinks (and the occasional donation).

Watch my video to see what a day with the Silvesterchläuse looks like!



  • Markus Läubli

    Dear Stephanie, Thank you very much for this interesting blog post. You have been able to transport the spirit of this very traditional event in a perfect way.

    January 15, 2018 - 2:44 pm Reply
  • Muna Sidarus

    Thanks Stephanie for your hard work! And still having the energy to go out in the evening after this 🙂
    Great video, I definitely need to go see it live next year.

    January 15, 2018 - 3:07 pm Reply
  • Wim Guns

    Great to learn something about this interesting Appenzeller tradition. Well done, looking forward to the next blog…

    January 15, 2018 - 3:26 pm Reply
  • Stephanie Kappes

    Thanks, Markus, Muna, and Wim! I’m glad you enjoyed the video 🙂

    January 15, 2018 - 3:35 pm Reply
  • Nadine Seifert

    Dear Stephanie, this is a great video. I enjoyed watching it very much. Also all articles I have been reading so far, were very interesting. Looking forward to the next blog…

    January 16, 2018 - 9:54 am Reply
    • Stephanie Kappes

      Thank you, Nadine!

      January 16, 2018 - 10:05 am Reply
  • Lucia Becker

    Hi Steph, nice video! It´s so funny to see that the Silvesterchlausen starts their breakfast with a good and powerful drink to keep themselves warm the whole day and to tune their voices ;-). I´m looking forward to your next clip and wish you an exiting trip this year

    January 16, 2018 - 10:34 am Reply
    • Stephanie Kappes

      Thanks Lucia! Silvesterchlausen is definitely a very merry event 😉

      January 16, 2018 - 3:15 pm Reply
  • C.S.Ramachandran

    Hello Stephanie, nicely-rendered narrative that walks us through the snow-covered valleys of Appenzell region. It is remarkable that traditions dating back to more than 400 years are still nurtured and sustained in their original form…

    January 17, 2018 - 2:02 am Reply
    • Stephanie Kappes

      Thank you, Chandu! It’s indeed very impressive that such age-old customs are still maintained and still move so many people today.

      January 17, 2018 - 7:35 am Reply
  • Peter

    Well done:-) Look forward to next one!

    January 21, 2018 - 11:51 pm Reply
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