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How is Christmas celebrated in Switzerland?

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Quick Answer

Church services, Christmas parades, concerts and carol singing are all common ways of celebrating Christmas in Switzerland. The Advent calendar, beginning four weeks prior to Christmas, is also a common tradition.

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Full Answer

The Advent tradition is similar to that of other countries. It's typically aimed at children, with one flap of the calendar being opened each day. Calendars often depict scenes from the Nativity and may also contain sweet treats for the children.

Carol singing is very popular on Christmas Eve in Switzerland. Carols are similar to those sung in the United States and elsewhere, but they are heard in a wide variety of languages. Families get together on Christmas Eve to decorate the Christmas tree together and to have a large dinner. Dinner may be followed by attendance at a midnight mass at the local church. Upon returning home, families may then enjoy large donuts called "ringli" with a cup of hot chocolate.

A region-specific celebration called Trychle is held in Meiringen at midnight on the December 25. During this celebration, people strap large cowbells (called "trychler") to their chests or carry drums and march through the streets attempting to make as much noise as possible to ward off evil spirits. These processions continue nightly until New Year's Eve.

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