Engelberger traditions

Immerse yourself in the Engelberg stories and traditions.

Traditions and customs are omnipresent in Engelberg and invite you to experience them. Whether in crafts, culinary specialties or when celebrating: the cultivation of old rituals and festivities is an important part of everyday life. Accordingly, they are still lived today and passed on from generation to generation.

Alpine farming

The management of the Alps has changed again and again. Nevertheless, much has remained the same. Going hand in hand with nature is still the highest law. Due to the deep connection to the alpine pasture and to nature, the alpine farmers take on a great responsibility. Despite the digital age, alpine farming will continue to be of great importance for the Engelberg Valley in the future. Along with the summering of the animals on the alps, the maintenance of a still intact landscape in Engelberg is of great importance.

Experience the alpine economy up close on the alpine cheese trail: 


In summer, when night slowly falls after a hard day's work, the time has come for the alpine farmers to pray the alpine blessing. They put an often richly decorated wooden funnel to their mouths and begin to thank God for the day that is coming to an end in a very unique chant. The origins of this alpine blessing probably go back to the Middle Ages. There are different texts in the Engelberg valley alone. The Engelberg alpine blessing differs from the alpine blessing practiced only a few kilometers away on Trübsee in the choice of words and the litany of saints. Especially in recent years, the evening alpine blessing has been increasingly practiced by the younger generation of alpine farmers.

Read the bolg about prayers:

Alpine descent

The days are getting shorter again. It has become autumn. From far away, you can hear the bells of the approaching cattle herds in the village. After a four-month alpine season on the surrounding alps, the alpine farmers return to the valley with their cows. The alpine departure is always an impressive and eventful encounter with an actively lived tradition. On the day of the alpine departure, the so-called leading cows are garlanded with a flower decoration for their return to the valley. The procession is led by the alpine herdsman. You can see his pride when he passes through the village with his well-summered cattle. The young cattle usually make the conclusion. 

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For decades, the Älplerchilbi was the most important festival in the village. At the end of the summering season, the herdsmen gave thanks for a good summer in the form of a harvest festival. After the thanksgiving service in the monastery church, people indulge in a cozy get-together with food, drink and dancing. Even today, this feast serves as the most important social gathering of the year for the farming families and the village population. The women proudly wear the Sunday costume, while the men put on the shepherd's shirt with its particularly rich decorations. Typical for the Älplerchilbi are also the two savages. They are reminiscent of ancient times, when the last species of the pagan indigenous population still lived in the mountains. They were invited to the Älplerchilbi as a thank you for their help during the summer months on the Alps.

​​​​​​​Bell smith

On a hike across the Engelberg Alps, the tinkling of cowbells sounds like music to the ears. But for the alpine herdsmen they are also an orientation aid. The tinkling of the bells tells him the whereabouts of the herd and lost animals find their way back to the herd more easily. The tinkling of the bells keeps the herds together. Many of the bells carried by the animals in Engelberg are made in the valley itself. No less than three Engelberg bell smiths have dedicated themselves to this ancient craft. As a result, each Engelberg bell has its own unique sound.

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Cattle show

The question of whether livestock shows still have their justification in today's modern times does not even arise. A visit to the Engelberg cattle show says more than a thousand words. The animals are presented to the show experts like models on a catwalk. Talking shop is the order of the day. And if you have a question, the Engelberg farmers will be happy to provide expert information. For mountain areas like Engelberg, a healthy livestock is of central importance. And so the livestock show is now a popular meeting place for the farming community with the non-farming population. The cattle show in the first half of October is something like the farmers' holiday.

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