Schwing Festival – it’s a Swiss thing


For weeks my co-worker has been talking about Schwingfest (This was in 2016. I’m late with this blog post).  He had got tickets to this sold out event and had just ordered his button down blue shirt with little edelweiss flowers on it.

“These are a Swiss thing,” he told me. “And everyone will be wearing them at Schwingfest.”

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Yes, the shirt really is a Swiss thing

Apparently Schwing Fest only happens every four years and it’s nearly impossible to get tickets.  The highlight of the event is traditional Swiss wrestling which involves two big and strong men fighting it out on the meadow following the “hosenlupf” rules. Hosen means trousers in German and trousers play a big role in the game as you have to hang onto your opponent’s trousers during the match and toss him over. Once the opponent’s back is on the ground the match is over.


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Notice the wrestler in blue is wearing the traditional Swiss shirt.

Unlike other wrestling where the wrestlers wear spandex, Schwinger wrestlers are dressed in black jeans and button up shirt (or at least the ones at this festival were). A pair of jute shorts are worn over the jeans and that’s what they hold onto when throwing it each other to the ground.

It was surprisingly entertaining to watch.

Schwing wrestling is just one of the sports played during the festival. Another sport is the “throw a big heavy giant rock” competition called “steintossen” (This translates to stone throwing. The Swiss don’t waste time coming up with fancy names for their sports).

This one involves picking up a big rock over your head, running a bit and then heaving it as far as you can.  This was also very entertaining to watch.


And by the way, my co-worker was right. Everyone was wearing the Swiss blue shirt with flowers. If I go again in four years, I may have to get one – just because it’s a Swiss thing.

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