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From: 2014.12.02 To: 2014.12.02
For thousands of years, despite (or perhaps in spite of) being outlawed by Christianity and local authorities, the Swiss village of Küssnacht am Rigi has celebrated Klausjagen, a day of tradition and lore that is unique to this Swiss town. The celebration commemorates the eve of Saint Nicholas Day with fire-lit torches, hooded costumes, and the deafening rings of cowbells. The procession is believed to have originated as a festival celebrating a pagan wild boar hunt, but was "christianized" in the 19th century. Today, a number of different traditions are wrapped into the evening festivities, including a procession of candlelit mitres carried by bishops, then men wearing iffelen, two meter high paper hats that are designed to look like crosses and filled with candles making them resemble stained-glass windows. Then comes Saint Nicholas himself, and the four nemeses of the jolly, bearded man. They are followed by a mass of cowbell ringing men and women who march the parade through the city. An alternative to the usual Christmas celebrations, some of the parade might scare the little ones, but for older kids, the festival usually ends at the local bars.