When the leafs start turning in September/October it is time to bring down the cows, sheep and goats from their summer alp. This tradition is celebrated in many villages around the country and really worth seeing.
Every year by the end of June/early July, farmers around Switzerland bring the animals up to their summer alp. This is a large, often very steep, meadow high up in the Swiss mountains. Usually, the family stays with their animals over summer in a simple farm cottage. They produce hay for the winter and make cheese from their cow’s milk. It sounds romantic – and for some part it truly is – but no doubt, this is hard work.
Comes September, it is time to relocate to the family’s village farm. Before the first snow, the family gathers all animals, cleans them, decorates them with flowers and puts the large decorative cowbells on. The family dresses in traditional outfits.
On a certain weekend, all farmer families from the village who spent the summer in the mountains, walk down and are welcomed by the village citizens and its visitors. In a parade they walk through the village and bring the animals home. Often this tradition is combined with a village fest, including music, food, a market with local, home-made products and lots of fun activities for all ages.
This year, we have been to a village called Seewis in Graubuenden. This tiny village really excelled in terms of authentic Swiss traditions. It was fantastic. Take a look at the following pictures to get a glimpse of it.