Näfelser Fahrt in Switzerland

Näfelser Fahrt is a historic and unique event celebrated in Switzerland, specifically in the Canton of Glarus. Also known as the "Näfels Pilgrimage" or "Näfelserfahrt" in German, this event commemorates the Battle of Näfels, which took place in 1388. The Näfelser Fahrt is observed on the first Thursday of April every year.


The Näfelser Fahrt has been celebrated in Switzerland since 1389, just one year after the Battle of Näfels. The battle was fought between the forces of the Swiss Confederation and the Habsburgs, where the Swiss emerged victorious. This victory was significant as it helped to consolidate the Swiss Confederation and further assert its independence from the Habsburg rulers. The people of Glarus have been commemorating this event annually for over six centuries to honor the bravery and sacrifices of their ancestors.


National customs for Näfelser Fahrt in Switzerland

While the Näfelser Fahrt is primarily a local event in the Canton of Glarus, it has gained national significance due to its historical importance for Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Council declared the Näfelser Fahrt as a federal festival in 1847, making it one of the few events in Switzerland that hold such a status.

On the day of the event, the people of Glarus gather in the town of Näfels for a solemn procession. The procession is led by the Landsgemeinde banner, followed by a group of children dressed in historical costumes, and then the members of the Glarus Cantonal Government. The procession moves through the town and ends at the Church of St. Hilarius, where a memorial service is held.

Local customs for Näfelser Fahrt in Switzerland

The Näfelser Fahrt is a deeply rooted tradition in the Canton of Glarus, and several local customs have developed over the centuries. One such custom is the "Chellebuebe," where young boys carry cowbells and ring them throughout the procession. This is believed to symbolize the Swiss victory in the Battle of Näfels and the driving away of the Habsburg forces.

Another local custom is the "Feldpredigt," an open-air sermon held at the site of the battle. This sermon is delivered by a local pastor and serves as a reminder of the historical significance of the event and the importance of preserving the memory of those who fought for their homeland.


The Näfelser Fahrt is a unique and historically significant event in Switzerland. With its deep-rooted customs and annual commemoration of the Battle of Näfels, it serves as a reminder of the country's rich history and the sacrifices made by its ancestors. The event continues to be celebrated with great respect and pride, showcasing the enduring spirit of the Swiss people and their commitment to preserving their heritage.