The Swiss have a huge range of ways of celebrating easter. From the humble easter egg hunt to some more specific traditions of each local community.
If you are in Switzerland over the Easter period, maybe you can see or even participate in one of the following Easter traditions.
Egg Smash (Eiertütschen)
The “egg smash” is a long-held Swiss easter tradition where locals smash or try to smash each other’s hardboiled eggs. They are often painted beforehand, more on that below, but the goal is to smash the other’s egg, then eat yours!
There are specific versions of the event in major cities like Bern, and a slightly different variant with a 20 rappen coin in Zurich, called Zwänzgerle, which takes place on Easter Monday.
Eggs Painting & Decoration
One of the oldest Swiss Easter traditions is egg painting and decoration. Typically, white hardboiled eggs are dipped in a variety of colors you can find at the supermarket. Then you can either hand paint them, if you have the time, patience and talent, or simply smear them with colors. There are no rules, and of course, doing it with the kids is always a treat!
Easter Egg Hunt
Nothing beats an easter egg hunt for a great Swiss easter tradition. Usually, the parents hide boiled eggs, or these days, chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies around the house or garden. Then, the kids wake up on Easter Sunday morning and have to find them. Of course, this tradition is not wholly Swiss, but it is still quite a common one.
Easter Tree (Osterbäumli)
A very popular easter tradition of late is to take a branch and hang either empty colored eggs or plastic decorated eggs from it. It is called Osterbäumli (or Easter Tree) and is a great way of decorating your living room or even putting one at your front door around Easter time. You can usually buy decorated plastic eggs from household stores, so it’s really very easy to do.
Some towns in Switzerland have very specific easter traditions. Here are a couple that are very well known.
Weeping Women (Les Pleureuses)
In the hilltop village of Romont, in the French part of Switzerland, an easter Friday tradition called the Mourning Women or in French “Les Pleureuses” It involves a cross-bearer and 20 women dressed in black. They pray and chat as they make their way through the village. While they are walking, they also carry the elements of the crucifixion on red cushions.
Decorated fountains in Nyon
The Swiss town of Nyon also has a specific Easter tradition. Various people, clubs, and businesses from the town decorate fountains around the town. It is quite the spectacle, and you never know what you are going to see.
Who Brings The Eggs At Easter in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, there are a few different animals and objects that are said to bring eggs on Easter Sunday.
The Cuckoo Bird
Another commonly held belief in Switzerland is that Cuckoo birds bring eggs at Easter. This is said to be because these birds often steal other birds’ eggs.
The Easter Bunny
The more modern version is that the Easter Bunny brings the eggs on Easter Sunday. This has become more common as things change in religion and society in Switzerland, which has also happened with Halloween, a tradition that was never celebrated until more recently.
The Church Bells
The church bells fly back from Rome with the Easter eggs on Easter Sunday. This is a tradition that is also common in France and is common in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Easter animal in Switzerland?
The easter animal in Switzerland is either the Cuckoo or the Easter Bunny, depending on who you ask.
Do Swiss people celebrate Easter?
Yes, the Swiss people celebrate Easter with a number of traditions and also attend mass at church on Sunday.
What is the Swiss Easter egg tradition?
The main Swiss Easter egg traditions are the Easter egg hunt and egg smash, where hard-boiled eggs are smashed by two opponents.