Best time to go to Switzerland

Cattle Descent 2024

Celebration of the arguculture and the art of shepherding

Dates: mid-August–late September

Cattle Descent
Cattle Descent
Cattle Descent
Cattle descent in the town of Appenzell

Alpine descent of cattle, called Alpabzug, Désalpe, and S-chargiada in different regions of Switzerland, is an important traditional festival celebrated in Swiss villages and towns from mid-August to mid-September. About 400,000 cows head to pastures high up in the Alps every summer. Their return is celebrated with festivities and vivid parades of cows and sheep, which are artfully decorated with twigs and flowers.

In some villages, cows are decorated with beautiful flower crowns. Cows that give the most milk or those that lead the herds are usually selected to wear "tschäppl' from dahlias. sunflowers, and chrysanthemums. In addition to parades, celebrations feature vendors, music, and delicious foods. It's a great occasion to see locals in their traditional costumes and hear traditional music produced by alpenhorns or yodeling singing.

Some of the most famous cattle descent festivals are held in Val d’Anniviers of the French-speaking Valais region. The area is famous for the Hérens breed of cattle. The festivities featuring parades, contests, live music, and entertainment are usually held in mid-September.

In Blonay, near Lausanne, the celebration is held in late September. The parade celebrating local armaillis (shepherds) goes from Les Guedères to the Grand-Pré. Near Lucerne, the Entlebuch Alpine Fest is celebrated every September in the Entlebuch UNESCO Biosphere. The parade of more than 200 cows and oxen goes from Sörenberg down to Schüpfheim. It's a perfect occasion to hear yodeling and try fresh farmers' produce.

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen