The Lucerne – Lake Lucerne Region is the cradle of Switzerland. Centuries-old customs, such as carnival or transhumance (the seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures) are very much part of a living tradition here. Delve into the wealth of cultural events and experience local traditions at first hand.
Transhumance has a long tradition in Switzerland. Featuring 200 head of cattle, the one that takes place in the Entlebuch is particularly impressive. After a summer spent up on the alp, the herdsmen and women leave their rustic alp huts around Sörenberg to return to Schüpfheim in the valley, where they are welcomed with a huge folk festival. To mark the day, the animals are magnificently decorated with flowers and bells, and all kinds of good things from the region are on offer at the large market. Take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to experience this folk custom at first hand.
The Lucerne Carnival is unique among the various carnival customs of Central Switzerland, and the largest annual event in the city of Lucerne. Bizarre figures in fantastical masks and costumes and “Guggen” music ensembles blowing their instruments in joyful cacophony transform the city with their colourful week-long merry-making. Thousands of people in disguise roam the alleys until the early hours, while onlookers marvel at the imagination of the float-makers whose mobile constructions feature in the big parades. You, too, can experience the “fifth season” in the city of Lucerne.
The traditional Gansabhauet takes place on St. Martin’s Day (11 November) in front of Sursee Town Hall. Gansabhauet is an archaic custom involving cutting the neck of a lifeless, blindfolded goose with a stroke of a sabre. The ritual might appear brutal, but its origins are bound up with the esteem in which the goose is held in terms of its nutritional value. Every year, thousands of spectators keep the tradition alive by making a pilgrimage to the old town of Sursee.
© Bruno Meier, Sursee
The 600-year-old Musegg Wall with its nine towers ranks amongst the most important landmarks in the city of Lucerne. During the guided tour, you will hear about the construction of the ancient city fortifications in the 14th century and about the many species of flora and fauna that inhabit the structure. Enjoy the wonderful views of Lucerne from the top of the Männli Tower and observe the clock in the Zyt Tower, which, pre-eminent amongst all the city’s clocks, has the right to strike the hour first.
Hergiswald is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Canton Lucerne, and one of historical and artistic significance. Central to this destination are the pilgrimage church of Hergiswald, the Loreto House, the hermitage and the Rosary Way. Personal tours of the church are offered, during which you learn about its origins and history. Restoration work and careful maintenance over the years have helped maintain the splendour of the fabric.
The Lucerne Museum Card provides unrestricted admission to any number of museums for two consecutive days. The giant painting in the round in the Bourbaki Panorama, rarities from the thrilling history of mobility in the Swiss Museum of Transport, treasures by Picasso and Klee in the Rosengart Collection – all these and much more are available to holders of the Lucerne Museum Card.