Klausschellen im Glarnerland (GL)


December 6

On December 6, or a date near it, the schoolchildren of most Glarus communities parade through their villages, ringing and jingling bells of all sizes, sometimes in rhythmic unison, sometimes in wild abandon. The sound of the bells reminds the inhabitants that a gift is due on this day. Most of the time it is something nice to eat, handed over at the doorway.

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This custom dates back to the time of industrialisation, which began very early in the Glarnerland. In those days it mainly involved the textile industry. Ringing the bells and begging for gifts was the privilege of working-class children who were thus given the opportunity to improve their meager rations. Social barriers have long since disappeared, but the custom remains. Today, all children in fourth grade and older may take part in it.

Although the villages are near one another, it should be noted that the custom is observed on different dates, at different times of the day, and in different ways, always depending on local custom. The variety reflects both different developments of the custom and the desire of each village to keep its own, disctinct profile.

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