Schwyz: History & Tradition
Many archaeological finds confirm that the first inhabitants of Schwyz settled here four to five thousand years ago. The Swiss Confederacy became a political reality with the conclusion of the alliance at the beginning of August 1291, which marked the start of a particularly troubled era, during which the young federation was put to the test many times. Then, bit by bit, the frontiers of the Confederacy began to expand. The political centre of the Canton lay in the parish of St. Martin, while Einsiedeln was one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe. Schwyz maintained contact with its allies around Lake Lucerne, and forged relations with other neighbours too. The complex structure of the Confederacy developed into a unique and historically important federal system. Battles and political conflicts recurred over the ensuing centuries. Despite its privileged status as a country with a well-developed economy and culture, Schwyz was finally overtaken by the towns of the pre-Alpine regions, which were growing rapidly both economically and financially.
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Tradition – The Klausnachter Klausjagen
The Klausnachter Klausjagen is one of the most important "St. Nicholas" customs in Europe today. Generally on 5 December, 20,000 people gather in the village of Küssnacht am Rigi, on the banks of Lake Lucerne. About 200 elves, followed by St. Nicolas, lead the procession which crosses the village.
- Beer (Maisgoldbier)
- Spiced bread
- Dettling's "Exclusively Kirsch"
- Muotathaler cream cake with Kirsch