Berchtold's Day

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The Berchtold day , Alemannic Bächteli [s] day, Berchteli [s] day, Berteli [s] day, Bärzeli [s] day, Bechtel day, Bechtle, in Glarus also called after New Year (Naanüüjaar) , is originally a public holiday in areas with Alemannic population , especially in parts of Switzerland  - where it also came to French-speaking western Switzerland via the Bernese rule over the Vaud - as well as in Liechtenstein . In the various areas it falls sooner, sooner later in the beginning of the year and is celebrated in the historical Zurich and Bern areas of influence on January 2, in the canton of Graubünden on January 5 and in Frauenfeld in Thurgau on the third Monday in January.

Legal position

In Switzerland, January 2nd is a public day of rest according to cantonal law in the cantons of Aargau (partially), Bern , Jura , Neuchâtel , Thurgau and Vaud , and according to local law also in the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen . In other cantons this day often has a somewhat unclear status; many employees do not work but have to take a vacation day or overtime ; many retail stores use it for inventory and have therefore closed, while in the same canton the major distributors may open their stores. Banks in Switzerland are generally closed on January 2nd , and SBB is also a public holiday.


Berchtold - a person?

The day has nothing to do with a saint Berchtold who doesn't even exist in the saints calendar. But the much-claimed Germanic origin in connection with a goddess Berchta or Perchta , allegedly the wife of Wotan , who was up to mischief during the Rauhnächte and was banished with wild customs, cannot be conclusively proven.

In the Swiss Idiotikon , reference is made to the Middle High German berchttac, berchteltac , berchtnacht for Epiphany , “Dreikönigstag” (January 6th). Middle High German bërcht, bërchtel means «shiny, shining» (compare English bright «hell»); ancient Greek ἐπιφαίνειν epiphainein means «appear, shine out, shine through». Perhaps the translation was also due to the fact that the reading from Isaiah given on January 6th begins with “ Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem, quia venit lumen tuum, et gloria Domini super te orta est ” (“Open up, Jerusalem, be light For your light is coming, and the glory of the Lord is shining on you »). The Middle High German word formation is therefore a transfer of the Greek-Latin epiphany "apparition", which means that the Swiss Berchtold Day follows the epiphany. The first part of the word, later no longer understood, was varied many times in the dialects, reinterpreted in writing after "Berchtold" or in western German-speaking Switzerland perhaps also related to the Zähringian dukes named Berthold or to the Burgundian queen Berta , who is often considered to be the church founder in western Switzerland .

Additional holiday of the reformed cantons

The Swiss Berchtold's Day is a non-working day after New Year's Day, just like Easter Monday at Easter, Whit Monday at Pentecost and St. Stephen 's Day at Christmas. Since Berchtold's Day was originally a day off in Reformed cantons alone , it makes sense to see it as a compensation for the canceled Epiphany .

regional customs

In Reformed Switzerland, Berchtold's Day is or was associated with varied New Year, winter and Carnival customs; The Swiss Idioticon Volume XII, 962–967 and the Atlas der Schweizerischen Volkskunde Volume II, 165 f. or Commentary Volume II, 75-83. In Catholic Switzerland, on the other hand, the Epiphany (January 6th) is the focus, and only a few guilds and societies meet there for a banquet on Bärzelitag .

Banquet and New Year's papers

In the cantons of Zurich, Schaffhausen and Thurgau there is socializing in many places on Berchtold's Day. In the Zurich Unterland , for example in the area around Bülach and Rafz , the population gathers in various pubs on the Bächtelis afternoon and evening to bark . Local music, comedy and other entertainment groups move from pub to pub to entertain the respective guests. The innkeepers in turn provide the groups with food and drink. A specialty is the Bächtelswurst with Bächtelsweggen; the Bächtelswurst is made according to a special recipe only once a year for this occasion.

In the city of Zurich , members of the guild or society used to send their children in festive clothes to the society or guild room, so that they should donate a certain amount of money to the heating of the room ( room heating, room heating ) . From this, today's custom has developed that a number of associations publish books or picture reproductions (so-called " New Year's Papers ") on this day and sell them in a sociable setting.

In Frauenfeld , Bächtelitag  - which is celebrated here on the 3rd Monday in January - is a festival for the whole city and is celebrated in the town hall with a « citizens' meal », to which a boiled sausage called Salzisse , bread and wine are served. The bourgeois meal has its beginnings in the 13th century and is celebrated from the 16th century as a communal social entertainment by citizens and craftsmen.

In Lucerne , the saffron guild holds its beard festival in mid-January .

Masked running and balls

In the Aargau Hallwil draw and some other towns of Switzerland on Bärzelistag the Bärzelibuebe as scary mask figures through the village. Masked wandering around on Berchtold's Day is attested for various places in the canton of Schaffhausen , in western Thurgau and in the northern and eastern canton of Zurich in the 19th and early 20th centuries , but the custom has been forgotten there as well as in parts of western Switzerland. In earlier times, moving was also associated with asking (begging for food).

The day was celebrated with balls, especially in the cantons of Bern and Vaud, and a little less in the canton of Zurich. In the 19th century, masked balls for children were held in the city of Zurich , and there is evidence for the 15th century that people from Zurich “went to tantz on sant Berchtlins day to night […] and“ dressed in bög [g] enwis and transforming clothes »Returned.

The mask running on Berchtold's Day should be seen in a larger ethnographic context. Closely related are about the Appenzell Silvesterklausen , the Nicholas tradition in the Bernese Oberaargau and in the Zurich Oberland and of course the carnival tradition .

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. For the dialectal terms see Linguistic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland V 161.
  2. a b Swiss Idioticon. Vol. IV 1538.
  3. ^ Kurt Gärtner, Klaus Grubmüller, Karl Stackmann (eds.): Middle High German Dictionary . tape I . Hirzel, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-7776-1399-4 , Sp. 600 f .
  4. ^ Berchtoldstag , in: Wortgeschichten, published online by the editors of the Swiss Idiotikons.
  5. Schweizerisches Idiotikon, Volume II, Sp. 1833, Article Stube n hitz, Meaning 2 ( digitized version ).
  6. Culinary heritage: Frauenfelder Salzissen.
  7. Guild of Saffran: Agenda 2017 and 2018.
  8. a b Swiss Idioticon. Vol. XII 966.
  9. ^ Atlas of Swiss Folklore Commentary Volume II 80.
  10. ^ Atlas of Swiss Folklore Commentary Volume II 81 f.
  11. ^ Atlas of Swiss Folklore Map II 166, commentary volume II 79 f.
  12. ↑ The joys of children. Commemoration for the students and their friends as a friendly reminder of the inauguration of the new daughter school building in Zurich on April 7, 1853. By Orelli, Füssli and Comp., Zurich 1853, p. 15.