Chästeilet in the Justis Valley

Chästeilet in the Justis Valley
EventsTop cultural eventsChästeilet in the Justis Valley
17 September 2021

A chunk of Swiss tradition

Every year in September, the farmers of the Justis Valley come together for the Alpabzug, the day the cattle is brought back down to the valley from the summer pastures. In the idyllic valley of Sigriswil, in keeping with a century-old custom, farmers then share the alpine cheeses produced over the summer.
The traditional Chästeilet has been held on the Spycherberg in the Justis Valley above Lake Thun for almost 300 years. The custom is famous well beyond the borders of the canton itself. Over the summer the alpine farmers make their cheeses using the milk from more than 250 dairy cows. The cows themselves belong to the farmers from the municipality of Sigriswil. At the end of the summer, in keeping with a century-old ritual, the cheeses are then shared out among the farmers – hence the name Chästeilet, i.e. the dividing of the cheese. After the ceremony, you have the opportunity to admire the alpine dairy farmers dressed in their traditional costumes as they lead the procession of magnificently adorned cattle back down to the valley.

A festival marking the end of summer

Before and during the traditional ritual, you have the opportunity to celebrate this joyous festival marking the end of the alpine summer in the company of the alpine farmers, who have been known to break into spontaneous yodelling sessions with the visitors. The air is also filled with the sound of the Schwyzerörgeli, the traditional button accordion used in Swiss folk music. It is a time when the locals really get into the swing of things. Experience this traditional occasion with plenty of music and good food, all in an authentic atmosphere. Those who enjoy a good walk are welcome to join the Alpabzug procession after the Chästeilet and follow the adorned cattle from the valley to Sigriswil. The Chästeilet is free of charge for visitors.


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