Chalanda Marz

Chalanda Marz (First of March)

March 1
In Engadine, located in the Inn River valley of eastern Switzerland, the arrival of spring is celebrated with the ringing of bells. Young people put on herdsmen's costumes with wide leather belts from which they hang as many cow bells as they can collect. Smaller bells hang from their necks or are strapped across their chests. These "herdsmen" are followed by other young boys with bells around their necks who represent the cows. They go from house to house, clanging their bells as loudly as possible to scare off winter and serenading people with traditional spring songs. Sometimes they are given money, but more often they are rewarded with cakes, apples, or eggs. An evening feast is made out of the food, and afterward there are games and dancing. The money goes to the village schoolmaster, who saves it for a class picnic or excursion.
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 37
FestWestEur-1958, p. 226
(c)