The Herens cows are an ancient, traditional Valais breed with a highly combative temperament. Every spring, on the journey up to the high mountain pastures, they lock horns. The winning ‘queen’ becomes leader of the herd for the summer. This led to the development of the tradition of cow fighting, drawing many breeders and a large audience. Each cow selects her opponent, ending the fight as soon as the defeated opponent turns away. Injuries are extremely rare. At the end of the day, the undefeated cow is crowned ’queen of the queens’. The grand finale of these ’cowfights’ takes place in Aproz every year.
Ascent to the Alps: Valais celebrates the ascent to the Alps from May to June. Visit the festivities held by the various local communities during these folklore days, particularly the cow fights and the blessing of the cattle. On the occasion of the ascent, the Herens cows fight to determine the order they will maintain throughout their stay in the Alps. The queen will be led back into the village decorated with flowers and a red ribbon, to the satisfaction of its proud owner.
Descent from the Alps: for their descent from the mountains, between mid-September and mid-October, the cows will be festively decked with flowers and ribbons, to be welcomed back home by a colourful array of onlookers. The bells of the cows and the calls of the natives can be heard far away in the valley. Experience the cattle drive to the sound of the alphorns, and sample our delicious regional specialties at the same time.