- New Glarus
Silversterchlausen is an ancient celebration of New Year's Eve in Appenzell, Switzerland. St. Sylvester's Day, called Silvester in Switzerland, is New Year's Eve. The modern Gregorian calendar places it on December 31st. But before the 1600s, Switzerland used the old Julian calendar which placed the holiday on January 13th. Silvesterchlausen is still observed on the old date from the Julian calendar.
In Appenzell, Switzerland, Silvester is celebrated with Silvesterchlasuen, a procession through town filled with yodeling, bells, and garish costumes. We are proud to be the first group outside of Switzerland to celebrate this festive custom.
The costumes, called Groscht, are thought to be of similar origin to the types of costumes worn during Fasnacht, or Swiss Mardi Gras. In Appenzell, there are three types: the Schöne (Beautiful), the Schö-Wüeschte (Pretty/Ugly) and the Wüeschte (Ugly). Each town has their own take on these costume types.
Here in New Glarus, we wear the Wüeschte. Our costumes are nature-based and adored with bells to "ring in" the new year. The group of performers are called a Schuppl. The leader is called the Vorrolli and the last in line is the Noerolli. They both wear smaller bells attached to their costumes, while the other two performers, the Schelli, carry larger bells by hand.
What are you singing? Silversterchlausen songs are a specific type of yodel, called Zäuerli. Zäuerli have no words and are filled with improvised harmonies. The songs are led by our Vorrolli and the other performers will harmonize together. We also ring bells to mimic the sound of the dairy cows and to welcome the new year. Zäuerli are passed down without written music and are taught only by listening and singing along. During the procession, the Silversterchlausen performers do not speak, so we ask that you do not disturb them.
Procession begins at noon with Stops (TENTATIVE) along our route: -Swiss Center of North America -Chalet of the Golden Fleece -Toffler's Pub and Grill -Ticino's Pizza -Dirty Dog Taphaus -Puempel's Olde Tavern -Chalet Landhaus Inn
Followed by an evening of Swiss music at the Chalet Landhaus featuring D'Schwiizer Gruppe and the New Glarus Jodlerklub.