Don’t Miss the Cow Parade

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • September 7th, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

The Alpabzug in Urnaesch

The Alpabzug in Urnaesch/Photo: Chantal Panozzo

Big bells. Flower headdresses. Men in yellow knickers. What’s not to love? One of my favorite parts of fall in Switzerland is an event known as the Alpabzug. What exactly is that? It’s a big festival that involves dressing up cows and sending them down from the mountains for the winter. There are several of these cow parades going on in Switzerland in September:

Descent of the Alpine cattle in Brigels/Breil

September 11, 2010

Descent of the Alpine sheep in Leukerbad

September 12, 2010

Sichlete Descent of the Alpine Cattle in Bern

September 13, 2010

Descent of the Alpine cattle in Flims (this is a beautiful area of Switzerland and the cows here wear flowers headdresses)

September 18, 2010

Descent of the Alpine cattle and farmer’s market in Urnaesch (this is the traditional cow march with yodeling, alpine cheese, and Appenzeller fashions—i.e. yellow knickers. See One Big Yodel for more information. However, the cows here do not wear flowers, they wear big bells.)

September 18, 2010

Alpine Festival with descent of the Alpine cattle in Charmey

September 25, 2010

Procession of the Alpine cattle in Weggis

September 25, 2010

Procession of the Cows in Crans-Montana

September 25, 2010

Descent of cows from mountain pasture Moiry

September 25, 2010

Don’t forget to bring your camera. And don’t just stand there, why not follow the procession yourself? I did this last year and ended up back at a farmer’s home near Urnaesch where the family yodeled together, like it was just something normal you do. And for them, it was. It was definitely something to see.

What’s your favorite cow parade in Switzerland?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

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