Christmas in Innerrhoden


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

The canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden is famous for its broad variety of Christmas traditions which appeal to all the senses. The Christmas period begins with the presentation of the colourful Chlausebickli (painted gingerbread biscuits) on All Saints’ Day. The Chlausebickli, which are given to children by their godparents, cannot be consumed immediately and will reappear later as part of the Christmas Chlausezüüg (a pyramid-shaped forerunner of the Christmas tree constructed on a wooden frame). Along with the Chlausebickli, Devisli are also an essential part of the Chlausezüüg, which today consists of a five-cornered wooden frame that tapers towards the top. The inside of the Chlausezüüg originally consisted of a cone of Filebrood (braided bread), Biberfladen (an Appenzell gingerbread speciality), apples, nuts and dried pears. Devisli are small, painted images made from dried sugar dough. They are ornately designed and depict a range of scenes, for instance from traditional farming life in Appenzell. On Christmas Eve, the streets and houses of Appenzell Innerrhoden are filled with the smell of incense. Altar servers, men, and, less frequently, women and children carry a censer or what is known as the Räuchlipfanne (incense pan) through living rooms, workplaces and stables in order to bless them.

Image gallery

  • Chlausezüüg filled with Filebrood, Biberfladen, nuts, apples and dried pears. © Emil Grubenmann/Museum Appenzell, Appenzell 1958
  • Chlausezüüg constructed on a wooden frame. © Joe Manser, Appenzell 2008
  • A glimpse into Bäckerei Fuchs on Hauptgasse, Appenzell, a bakery which no longer exists. © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell 1964
  • Filebrood at an Innerrhoden bakery © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell um 1960
  • Modelled and painted Devisli by Vreny Eugster © Museum Appenzell, 2010
  • Ruedi Manser, Schlatt Appenzell Innerrhoden, burning incense in a stable © Ernst Hohl, Urnäsch 2008
  • Mrs Koller, Maredlis, burning incense in Weissbadstrasse, Appenzell © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell um 1960
  • Chlausezüüg filled with Filebrood, Biberfladen, nuts, apples and dried pears. © Emil Grubenmann/Museum Appenzell, Appenzell 1958
  • Chlausezüüg constructed on a wooden frame. © Joe Manser, Appenzell 2008
  • A glimpse into Bäckerei Fuchs on Hauptgasse, Appenzell, a bakery which no longer exists. © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell 1964
  • Filebrood at an Innerrhoden bakery © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell um 1960
  • Modelled and painted Devisli by Vreny Eugster © Museum Appenzell, 2010
  • Ruedi Manser, Schlatt Appenzell Innerrhoden, burning incense in a stable © Ernst Hohl, Urnäsch 2008
  • Mrs Koller, Maredlis, burning incense in Weissbadstrasse, Appenzell © Emil Grubenmann sen./Museum Appenzell, Appenzell um 1960

Video

Christmas traditions in Innerrhoden: burning incense © Thomas Karrer/Museum Appenzell, 2007

Christmas traditions in Innerrhoden: making the Chlausebickli © Thomas Karrer/Museum Appenzell, 2007

Christmas traditions in Innerrhoden: Vögl, Filebrood ond Chääsflade © Thomas Karrer/Museum Appenzell, 2005

References and documentation

Publications
  • Ferdinand Fuchs: Das religiöse Brauchtum in Innerrhoden. In: Unser Innerrhoden. Ed. Landesschulkommission Appenzell Innerrhoden. Mit Beiträgen von Josef Küng, Ferdinand Fuchs, Roland Inauen, Oskar Keller, Joe Manser, Johann Manser, Edi Moser, Alfred Sutter. Appenzell, 2003

  • Albert Spycher: Ostschweizer Lebkuchenbuch. St.Galler und Appenzeller Biber, Biberfladen und Verwandte. Herisau, 2000

  • Walter Koller: Leben und Brauchtum in Appenzell Innerrhoden. Herisau/Trogen, 1983

Documentation