Brother Klaus festival


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487) was a farmer from Sachseln and the father of ten children before he decided to go and live as a hermit in the Ranft gorge. During his lifetime he already gained a reputation as a pious and wise man, even as a living saint. His highly valued advice was sought by simple peasants, noblemen, rulers and politicians alike. Not long after the death of Brother Klaus, as he was widely known, the first pilgrimages were made to Sachseln and the Ranft gorge, and the first biographies and accounts of pilgrimages appeared. Following his beatification by the Vatican in 1649, an annual Brother Klaus festival was introduced to mark the anniversary of his death, 21 March. This date soon became – alongside the "Einsiedler Engelweihe" (Einsiedeln Angels' Blessing) on 14 September – the most important festival of the year. The Vatican canonised Brother Klaus in 1947, and subsequently shifted the date of the festival to 25 September. Since then, hundreds of local inhabitants and pilgrims from near and far have gathered every year on this autumn day, which has also become a bank holiday in the canton of Obwalden, to attend a festival service held at the Sachseln parish church. This is followed by a communal drinks reception and live music. Many also visit the Saint's grave and hermitage.

Image gallery

  • Painting of the Brother Klaus by an unknown master from the mid-17th century © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim/picswiss
  • A festival service on the altar tomb of the holy Brother Klaus, Sachseln parish church, 25 September 2011 © Josef Reinhard, Sachseln
  • A procession into the church for a festival service, with the statue of Brother Klaus, Sachseln, 25 September 2011 © Josef Reinhard, Sachseln
  • The Early Baroque parish and pilgrim church at Sachseln, which houses Brother Klaus's tomb. July 2005 © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim / picswiss
  • For many participants, the Brother Klausen festival also involves a visit to the hermitage in Ranft. July 2005 © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim/picswiss
  • Painting of the Brother Klaus by an unknown master from the mid-17th century © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim/picswiss
  • A festival service on the altar tomb of the holy Brother Klaus, Sachseln parish church, 25 September 2011 © Josef Reinhard, Sachseln
  • A procession into the church for a festival service, with the statue of Brother Klaus, Sachseln, 25 September 2011 © Josef Reinhard, Sachseln
  • The Early Baroque parish and pilgrim church at Sachseln, which houses Brother Klaus's tomb. July 2005 © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim / picswiss
  • For many participants, the Brother Klausen festival also involves a visit to the hermitage in Ranft. July 2005 © Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim/picswiss

References and documentation

Publications
  • Urs Altermatt: Niklaus von Flüe als nationale Integrationsfigur. Metamorphosen der Bruder-Klausen-Mythologie. In: Zeitschrift für schweizerische Kirchengeschichte 81. Mariastein, 1987, p. 51-82

  • Victor Bieri: «...drum kommt aus jedem Schweizer Haus ein Beter zu den Pilgerscharen». Bemerkungen zu Bruder-Klausen-Wallfahrten zwischen 1933 und 1957. In: Zeitschrift für schweizerische Kirchengeschichte 81. Mariastein, 1987, p. 31-50

  • Roland Gröbli: Die Sehnsucht nach dem «einig Wesen». Leben und Lehre des Bruder Klaus von Flüe. Luzern, 1990 (Neuauflage 2006)

  • Walter Heim: Die Bruder-Klaus-Verehrung seit der Heiligsprechung von 1947. In: Der Geschichtsfreund. Mitteilungen des Historischen Vereins Zentralschweiz 140. Luzern, 1987, p. 81-100

  • Werner T. Huber: Niklaus von Flüe Bruder Klaus. Im Herzen von Europa, 1998-2012

  • Karl Imfeld: Volksbräuche und Volkskultur in Obwalden. Kriens, 2006, p. 167-170

Documentation
  • Bruder-Klausen-Fest

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