Monday, 19 November 2012

Räbeliechtli Procession Richterswil

You might be wondering what the heck is that word in the title, it is a Swiss-German word meaning turnip lantern procession. It is a bit of a mouthful to say and it did take me ages to say the word correctly, but finally I can.

Basically around this time of year children make lanterns out of turnips and go on walks in the evening usually organised in each town. You get your turnip and take all the insides out (like with a pumpkin), then on the outside you carve patterns and shapes, so it glows when you put the candle in.

Every year in Richterswil there a big procession with around 10,000 carved turnips, it is the first time I have been and was looking forward to seeing all the sights. I opted to buy a turnip already carved for Alessio, as he was going to make his own at Kindergarten. Many, many people come for this event and it was really busy, along the procession route the houses and shops have to decorate their outdoors.

Some buildings had maybe 50 of these carved turnips on display, such a marvelous sight to see but what a lot of work! There are the usual refreshments and at this time of year one is able to drink Glühwein (mulled wine).

At 1825 all the lights are turned off in the village, ready waiting for the procession to start and then five minutes later it starts. All the floats are made from turnips and they were amazing to see, I only have a few caught on camera.

Once over most people leave, but it is still possible to linger around admiring the carved turnips, eat  and drink a bit more.


  1. Any idea what this tradition stems from? We have had a similar (albeit much smaller) procession in Brugg but I was wondering what the story behind it was.

  2. Hi, from what I gather is comes from St.Martin which is celebrated on November 11th, hence why it is around this time. He was a Roman solider and gave a beggar part of his cloak to keep warm from the cold. Although not sure why they use a turnip!