Easter Donation in Ferden

With the conservation of the ritual of the Easter Donation, Ferden has managed to preserve a memorial of a Christian sense of community, i.e. a custom that used to be common in a similar form in the entire alpine region. Every year, the milk produce of two days is processed into a special kind of cheese, which is then distributed to the inhabitants of Lötschental on Easter Monday. According to a medieval legend, this is done in order to break the curse of the Ferdener Alps.

The story goes that following the death of a cowherd who had become rich through illegal means, an ominous ghost came to haunt the Alpine pastures of Faldum, Resti and Kummen. The evil spirit chased the cattle from their stalls and chased them relentlessly through the mountains and valleys. The cows came back three days later. They had ears of corn between their hooves and produced bloody milk. The men responsible for the Alpine pastures therefore decided to offer the result of two day's milking to the poor people in the valley every year and from this day on the restless cowherd stopped his evildoing.

At the communal cellar, the cheese is turned into a fine mash, salted and filled into Rümpfe, carcasses, which are handmade every year from the bark of a fir tree. All tasks in this process – including the distribution of the donation that consists of cheese, bread and wine for adults to hundreds of guests – are done by specifically selected men from Ferden. After the morning mass, the children first stand in line at the parish hall to receive the so-called small donation. Then, the open council follows at which the citizens debate the Easter donation. In the afternoon, the guests from the other communities of the valley have their turn and then the women of Ferden. Last but not least, the men of Ferden receive their donation on Tuesday night.