Traditions

Activities

Göiggler

The tradition of Carnival in the Saastal (Saas valley) dates back more than a century. Before the beginning of Lent, people would dress up in costume and go out on to the streets to drive away evil spirits. According to oral tradition, the so-called Göiggler first appeared at the beginning of the 19th Century. Two of these characters, clothed in jute, would walk on either side of each procession to maintain order. Today, the Göiggler steal the show at the 15-odd processions in the Saastal. Wearing costumes that they have made themselves from fine fabrics, they walk through the streets, mostly in groups, carrying bells and “horse tails” made of real horsehair. The costumes consist of a black undergarment over which the Göiggler put on a series of colourful skirt-like garments, trimmed with fur, around the neck, waist, wrists and calves; they also wear a mask and a matching hat. They also wear a leather belt with one big or several small cowbells, sheep bells or horse bells, fastened around the waist.