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Lötschental, Switzerland

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Lötschental, SwitzerlandLötschental, Switzerland
photo source
authorshipRoland Zumbühl
photo licensing

Lötschental is a remote valley in Valais canton, Switzerland. The largest valley to the north of the Rhône Valley, it is within the Bernese Alps, with the river Lonza flowing the length of it from the Langgletscher. The main villages here are Wiler and Kippel, both with less than a thousand villagers. Even smaller villages in the valley include Ferden and Blatten.

Although Lötschental has been inhabited since Roman times, it remained largely isolated from the rest of the world until the early 20th century. Due to its remoteness, it has remained virtually cut off from the modern world. As such its inhabitants have retained many of their ancient rituals, customs and traditions, to the delight of ethnographers, and of late, to tourists.

The people of Lötschental continue to practise farming in the traditional way. However as the modern world intrudes into Lötschental, the way of life in the valley is beginning to be eroded.

One of the most interesting period in Lötschental is it holds its carnival, from Candlemas through Schrovetide. During the carnival, frightening figures called Tschäggätta parade the streets. They are a procession of costumed young men wearing masks and fleece coats. These fearsome figures would toss soot at unsuspecting victims. It is not well known how Tschäggätta originated, with likelihood that it came from paganistic practices that has assimilated themselves into local Christian customs.

As with elsewhere in Switzerland, Lötschental today depends on tourism as one of its primary industries. It is a popular hiking site during summer and skiing in winter.

Tschäggaätta figures parading the streets during the carnival in LötschentalTschäggaätta figures parading the streets during the carnival in Lötschental
photo source
authorshipYan Schweizer
photo licensing

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