Meitlisunntig (Girls’ Sunday)


Category:
Social practices
  • Oral expressions
  • Performing arts
  • Traditional craftsmanship
Canton:

Description

Meitlisunntig, or Girls’ Sunday, is a three-day period in Fahrwangen and Meisterschwanden during which the women rule over the men. The custom dates back to the Battle of Villmergen in 1712, in which women made a successful contribution to the fighting effort. In return they were granted three days in command. Female drummers announce the start of the rule on the Thursday, drumming and walking through the streets. The Meitlisunntig associations hold a general assembly in each of the two villages, where about 80 women gather in elegant period dress. In groups they then set out to hunt down men, each group carrying a net made of hemp ropes. As a sign of the shift in power, the men are offered a glass of wine and the women ask the men to dance. Captured men are carried to the next restaurant, where they are given the chance to buy back their freedom. On the Sunday groups of masked women provide for entertainment in local restaurants, again asking the men to dance. Every three years there is a large procession which starts in Fahrwangen and makes its way to Meisterschwanden. The custom is brought to a close when a large ring of plaited bread is shared out, symbolising the return of power to the men.

Image gallery

  • Women from Meisterschwanden at the general assembly marking the beginning of the Girls‘ Sunday custom
  • Fahrwangen and Meisterschwanden drumming corps © Priska Lauper, 2011
  • Women from Fahrwangen dressed in noble robes and armed with their net for catching men © Priska Lauper, 2011
  • A man caught in the net made of hemp ropes and about to be carried to the next restaurant © Ursula Erni, 2011
  • Dancing on Thursday evening – but only when asked to by the girls and women of Meisterschwanden © Ursula Erni, 2011
  • Slicing the plaited bread in Fahrwangen on Sunday evening © Priska Lauper, 2009
  • The Battle of Villmergen group in the 2008 parade with two plaited loaves in the background © Priska Lauper, 2008
  • A procession float themed around the traditional card game Jassen, 2005 © Priska Lauper, 2005
  • Procession theme “Go Switzerland” in 2008: Float themed around the (carrot) canton of Aargau © Priska Lauper, 2008
  • Women from Meisterschwanden at the general assembly marking the beginning of the Girls‘ Sunday custom
  • Fahrwangen and Meisterschwanden drumming corps © Priska Lauper, 2011
  • Women from Fahrwangen dressed in noble robes and armed with their net for catching men © Priska Lauper, 2011
  • A man caught in the net made of hemp ropes and about to be carried to the next restaurant © Ursula Erni, 2011
  • Dancing on Thursday evening – but only when asked to by the girls and women of Meisterschwanden © Ursula Erni, 2011
  • Slicing the plaited bread in Fahrwangen on Sunday evening © Priska Lauper, 2009
  • The Battle of Villmergen group in the 2008 parade with two plaited loaves in the background © Priska Lauper, 2008
  • A procession float themed around the traditional card game Jassen, 2005 © Priska Lauper, 2005
  • Procession theme “Go Switzerland” in 2008: Float themed around the (carrot) canton of Aargau © Priska Lauper, 2008

References and documentation

Publications
  • Yvonne Fischer: Meitlisonntags-Brauch Fahrwangen und Meisterschwanden um den 2. Sonntag im Januar. In: Heimatkunde aus dem Seetal 74. Ed. Historische Vereinigung Seetal. Seengen, 2001, p. 17-28

  • Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer: Feste und Bräuche des Schweizervolkes. Zürich, 1940

  • Jürg Stüssi: Zum Meitlisonntag von Fahrwangen und Meisterschwanden. In: MFD-Zeitung. Offizielles Organ des Schweizerischen Verbandes der Angehörigen des MFD 47-48. Biel, 1987-1988

Documentation
  • Meitlisunntig

    Ausführliche Beschreibung Last modification: 01.09.2012
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