Many Valais villages and valleys practise their own unique, centuries-old customs and traditions. It’s a breathtaking spectacle when the Tschäggättä, Sunnetreelleta and other mythical figures move through the streets and farmyards, chasing away winter and the evil spirits. Locals spend hours creating unique costumes and terrifying masks, later to be used in performance, and do not mind being watched at their work. This is a truly magical experience guaranteed to induce gooseflesh.
Tschäggättä & mask carving
The masked carnival figures characteristic of Lötschental, the so-called Tschäggättä, appear in the period between the Catholic holiday of Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). Every evening after work these wild figures streak through the valley and frighten anyone who is still out on the streets at that hour.
The Tschäggättä wear old clothes inside out, with the fur facing outwards. They are covered by two pieces of sheepskin or goatskin, held together by a leather belt around their loins, with a cow bell (‘Trichla’) usually hanging down from the belt.
Schedule: every year, between the Catholic holiday of Candlemas (2. February) and Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday)