Christmas Markets, festive events, fun and games, mulled wine, Santa - All in Verbier
Christmas in Verbier
With so many families visiting Verbier for the festive season, there is a real child-like excitement as the big day draws ever closer, and when the streets lights are turned on, it's hard to ignore that Christmas is nearly here.
Fun and Games with giant games and inflatable challenges at Comba Hall every afternoon from Christmas Eve
To prepare you for your Swiss Christmas, here are a few festive facts that make the Swiss Santa Claus a little different:
- Santa comes to Switzerland on 6th December, for "Samichlaus Abend" - Santa Night. "Samichlaus" as Father Christmas is known in Switzerland, wears a hooded red cape and long robe, and his arrival marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
- Samichlaus comes from a nearby forest rather than the North Pole, and he arrives alongside a donkey rather than a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
- Samichlaus brings a bag of treats for children to enjoy, but he doesn't come alone. He brings a mysterious side-kick called Schmutzli (Père Fouettard in French-speaking Switzerland).
- Schmutzli is in charge of punishing naughty children by swatting them with a broom of twigs, which everyone recognises as a bit of fun, and afterwards the traditional treats of lebkuchen, chocolates, peanuts and mandarins are distributed. A little bread man - Grittibänz - is an essential part of the tradition.
- Heiliger Abend - Christmas Eve - is celebrated by the decorating of the tree after a festive meal, some presents are given before attendance at midnight mass.
- Christmas Day itself is called Weihnachten, and traditionally is when the baby Jesus (Christkind), rather than Santa, leaves toys and gifts under the tree. It is a time to enjoy the outdoors, visit family, friends and neighbours, and indulge in holiday pastries and cookies