Culture in the Lötschental
Because of its isolated location, the Lötschental has become a source for a multitude of stories, legends and myths. Wild figures that raced through the Lötschental‘s history and have left their traces.
It is they who were the origins of the «Tschäggättä» custom that is still celebrated today during the carnival season. The masked carnival figures typical in the Lötschental, the so-called Tschäggättä, appear in the period between the Catholic holiday of Candlemass and Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Every evening after work these wild-looking figures streak through the valley and hunt down and frighten anyone who is still out on the streets.
Then experience this living tradition at first-hand on 4. February 2016 at the traditional Tschäggättu-Procession or on 6. February 2016 at the Lötschental Carnival Procession.
Food belongs to carnival as much as disguise and music. A special treat are the cookies "Chiächlini" (small cakes) baked for the shrovetide carnival at the Lötschental. Each family keeps its own recipe secret.
Here is a recipe from the village of Wiler, for two Kilos "Chiächlini": Warm up 100g butter add 250g sugar, 2dl white wine, 1dl Kirsch and 1dl Bergamot. Beat 6 eggs, add a pinch of salt and then mix it.
Sprinkle 1 kilo flour and 2 baking powder packets on your kitchen table. Put the mixture on the flour bed and knead it until workable. Let the dough rest for 1 hour. Cut out and bake it in frying oil.
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.
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.
Visit the exhibition at the municipal administration office in Ferden and learn more about the Easter donation. The exhibition will be open according to the office opening hours.
Has anyone not heard of the Lötschental Grenadiers of God? Along with the womenfolk in their brightly-coloured Lötschental traditional costumes they have been part of the solemn processions held on Christian holidays since time immemorial. A piece of living culture that is still celebrated today with love and a sense of honour and one that the locals are happy to share with visitors to the valley.
These "red soldiers" are a legacy from ancient soldiering days. For centuries many residents of the Lötschental have made a living for themselves in far-flung countries.
The men of the Lötschental were also active at the royal courts of Versailles and Naples - it is from there that the uniforms of the Grenadiers of God originate. The soldiers returned to their villages, brought their parade uniforms with them and wear them again at Christian festivals in honour of God.
Experience this living tradition at first-hand on 26 May 2016 at the procession of the feast of Corpus Christi or on 29 May 2016 at the procession of Benedictine Sunday. The processions take place in every village.
Program 26th of May 2016
Church service & procession (with Grenadiers of God):
Kippel, Wiler and Blatten 10:00 am.
in each villages at 02:00 pm
Religion and faith are deeply rooted in the Lötschental. The churches and chapels are still among the most important locations of the local population. In fact, each of the four communities has its own church and a multitude of chapels and shrines around the village.
The Dedication of the respective church is annually celebrated as a feast. The peculiarity in the Lötschental is that at the Service of Dedication there is a procession of the famous Grenadiers of God.
In 2016 there will be the following Services of Dedication in the Lötschental:
- 19 June 2016 - Service of Dedication in Kippel
- 21 August 2016 - Service of Dedication in Wiler
- 28 August 2016 - Service of Dedication in Blatten
- 11 September 2016 - Service of Dedication in Ferden
The beginning of the church service is at 10.00 am. At 2.00 pm there will be a devotion where also the Grenadiers of God deploy.
The Lötschental has a total of 54 chapels, churches and shrines waiting to be discovered by visitors. At the tourist office in Wiler or online under www.loetschental.ch/brochures you can obtain a colourful broschure with six circular walks.
Especially the baroque Chapel of Mariä Heimsuchung (Visitation of Our Lady) in Kühmatt is the destination of regional pilgrimages. Kühmatt, situated at 1,633 metres above sea level, is one of the most impressive places of grace in the valley. Therefore, on September 27th, 2015 there will be a big valley procession from Blatten to Kühmatt. It starts at 2.00pm at the church in Blatten. After the arrival in Kühmatt the mass starts.
A special experience is the nightly guided pilgrimage walk in the Lötschental, which takes place every year. This year the event will take place on July 4th, 2015.
For more information or inscripton please contact the Lötschental Tourist Information Office: tel. +41 (0)27 938 88 88 or email@example.com
Chapels can always be found on ways and places, where life is going on. In the early days, people's life in the Lötschental concentrated on the surrounding alps during the summer, because the cattle was summering there. Thus, chapels can be found on almost every alp in the Lötschental. Nowadays, chapel feasts are taking place during the summer months. The money that is raised with these feasts is put into the preservation of the respective chapel.
In 2016 the following chapel feasts take place in the Lötschental:
- 3th July 2016 - Chapel feast Kühmatt
- 24th July 2016 - Chapel feast Hockenalp
- 31st July 2016 - Chapel feast Fafleralp
- 7th August 2016 - Chapel feast Faldumalp
- 14th August 2016 - Chapel feast Kummenalp
- 4th August 2016 - Chapel feast Lauchernalp
On November 1st and 2nd - All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day - people in Catholic regions are commemorating the dead in a special way. People visit the cemetary, light candles and decorate the graves of the deceased.
In Kippel, there is in addition to the commemoration of the dead, a very special tradition - the All Soul's Donation, also called "Allerseelenspend". In the morning after church and the visit of the graves, a piece of bread and cheese is distributed to all visitors.
The All Soul's Donation of Kippel dates back to 1453. According to a document several honorable men then donated an eternal "Jahrzeit" (yearly commemoration of the dead) to all faithful souls. The income of the "Jahrzeit" were used to cater the priest on the one hand and were distributed to the members of the "Jahrzeit" on the other hand. What was still left from the income, was distributed to the poor.
The All Souls' Donation of Kippel ist taking place on 2 November 2015.
The Lötschental Museum leads you into a world full of tradition and customs. More than 60 wooden masks offer an unbroken history of the development of the basic traits of masking in the Lötschental since 1900 till to date. Genuine objects and films allow you to experience traditional costumes and the historic uniforms of the "Grenadiers of God". On your tour you will meet religious art of old and ethnic art of today. You find witnesses of the style of living, of alpine farming and tourism. You will also discover the portrayal of the country and its people in photography and art.
- 26 December 2013 - 31 December2013: daily, 3.00pm - 5pm. 02 January 2014 - 28 March 2014: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 3.00pm - 5.00pm.
- 01 June to 31 October 2014: daily, except mondays: 2.00pm - 5.00pm.
The museum can be opened outside of these hours by arrangement. Guided tours and special offers can be provided. Please contact the Museum by Tel +41 (0)79 527 13 77 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lötschental was and is a source of inspiration for artists, painters and photographers. See for yourself by visiting this gallery with works by the painter and photographer Albert Nyfeler from the Lötschental.
The gallery is open year round to visit by prior arrangement on +41 (0)79 651 19 10. For groups aperitifs and lectures can be organised.
Further information under www.a-nyfeler.ch
Bake your own bread in the village oven of Blatten - a great experience for groups, societies, companies and schools.
Group bread baking is available for groups of 6 people or more (max. 20) in the village oven in Blatten. The price for one portion of rye bread (approx. 40 loaves) is CHF 700.- (all inclusive). Of course you can take your selfmade bread home with you - freshly baked and smelling deliciously.
For further information and reservation please contact the Blatten Municipal Office under phone +41 (0) 027 939 12 05 or email@example.com
Please book a minimum of 7 days before the date you require.
Follow in the footsteps of the Tschäggättä and create your own Lötschental mask! Group mask carving with professional instruction is available for 5 people or more in our mask carving workshop in Ferden.
Price: CHF 45.00/Adult and CHF 40.00/Child.
For more information and to register, contact the Lötschental Tourist
Please book a minimum of 2 days before the date you require at the Lötschental Information Office in Wiler Tel. +41 (0)27 938 88 88.
It is an old tradition that the people from the Lötschental possess vines outside the valley. This tradition can also be seen on our valley flag, on which vines are embroided, allthough vines were never planted in the Lötschental. Thus, an exclusive wine-culture line was produced, whereas each wine has been assigned to a living tradition in the Lötschental:
Goigglär - The Goigglär is the treasure of Valais wines, namely a Cornalin. As valuable as the treasure of the 3 kings, which is protected by the Goigglär (jesters).
Leetschär - The Leetschär Grenadier is a Fendant de Salquenen. It is as firm and tight as the Grenadiers of God are standing tight during mass.
Tschäggättubluäd - The Tschäggättubluäd is a powerful Pinot Noir de Salquenen. It is as strong as the Tschäggätta, which are THE living heritage of the Lötschental.
The popular Lötschentaler wines can be purchased at Lötschental tourist office in Wiler or online at www.loetschental.ch/webshop
Contact: Wine Association Lötschental, Karl Lehner, Tel +41 (0) 27 939 15 63, firstname.lastname@example.org
Audio tours Lötschental:
Become your own village guide and enjoy interesting insights into the history of the Lötschental on a signposted route around the villages. These are not just anonymous people speaking on the tour, but rather people from the Lötschental itself telling their stories. The Lötschental audio tours are integrated into the popular Lötschental app. Download the Lötschental app onto your iPhone or Android phone to be able to use the audio tours. You can either download the Lötschental app in the App Store or Google Play Store by entering "Lötschental".
iPod lending venues
Simply swap your ID for an iPod at one of our five lending venues: Each lending venue has two iPods available.
- Ferden: Hotel Restaurant Ambord
- Kippel: Hotel Restaurant Lötschberg
- Wiler: Hotel Restaurant Sporting and Lötschental Tourist Office
- Blatten: Hotel Restaurant Edelweiss
All of the lending venues are close to the start of the respective audio tours. Simply switch on the iPod, plug in the earphones and follow the menu.