Davos Hosts Swiss Festival of Yodelling

Posted on July 2, 2014 in Lakes & Mountains Lifestyle Switzerland by Tim.Fowler Tags: , , , ,

Vanessa, resort representative for the resort of Davos is preparing to welcome a very loud crowd this week! 

“From the 3rd to 6th July 2014 we are expecting 10,000 active members of the Swiss Yodelling Association and their many supporters to descend on Davos Klosters for the 29th Swiss Yodelling Festival.

This colourful event takes place once every 3 years in a different Swiss town and several tens of thousands of visitors are expected, making it one of the biggest events in the country.  It is full of Swiss culture with yodellers, Alphorn blowers and flag wavers coming together to keep the customs alive.

Yodeling, what does that mean? Yodeling is a singing alternating between chest and head voice syllables without meaning.  Yodeling comes from yelling and does sing for joy and cheer. Also, the whoop, Jutz (is a cry and expression of joy).”

Of course Davos is no stranger to organising big public events such as the World Economic Forum or the Spengler Cup (Ice hockey) and is very happy that this time it returns to the mountains from where these traditional activities originate from.

The varied programme consists of a ceremony and parade, talks on yodelling, Alpine horn blowing, flag waving, a Yodelling village with food and drink and yodelling-related stands, an accompanying entertainment programme, competitions and lots of events.  Amongst which, I see there is an airshow from the Patrouille Suisse on two of the days.

During the last week I have witnessed lots of activity going on in erecting the “Jodler Village” (a large collection of white tents set out in and around the Kurpark in the middle of Davos) and putting in place many stands around the town.  I have also noticed that there is a special railway timetable with more trains from 4 to 6 July.

This Federal Jodlerfest will be the biggest, most colourful, musical and joyful event that Davos Klosters will have ever hosted and that has ever taken place in the Landwassertal. It will be a very special experience.

Flag twirling is one of the oldest national sports of Switzerland. Like wrestling or yodelling, this art is presented primarily at traditional festivals, accompanied by traditional alphorn blowing.

The flag throwers make this art look easy but it takes a lot of skill to master 99 different kinds of flag twirling with the left as with the right hand: from body turns to flat tossing to high tossing.  The Flag is made of silk or rayon and must be 1.2 meters squared.  Candidates compete in three-minute “battle exercises”.  In single or duet performances in their traditional canton costumes.

The earliest known illustration of a roughly three-meter-long shepherds horn originated in an altarpiece of a mountain chapel in the Allgau 1568.  However, the first mention in Switzerland goes back to the year 1527.              
Today it is a national symbol of Switzerland.

The Alphorn and Buechel-players perform as a soloist, duo, trio, quartet, or in a group.  The polyphonic presentations must be performed with instruments in a consistent mood. For the most part, the instruments must be made entirely of wood.