A Delightful Look At How Swiss Santa Is Different To Aussie Santa

10/12/2015 2:24 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
loridambrosio via Getty Images
Sangre de Christo Mountains

In Australia, as it is in the United States, we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December.

Santa, with his trusty reindeers pulling his sleigh, delivers gifts during the night of the 24th to be opened on Christmas morning, with many children leaving out cookies, milk and carrots for their long journey. We also decorate our Christmas trees on the 1st of December.

Though this is not the tradition the world over. Various countries celebrate the holidays with different beliefs.

"In Switzerland, Father Christmas comes on the 6th of December," Annamaria Pal Muller from Zurich Tourism told The Huffington Post Australia.

"On the 6th of December, Father Christmas comes and all of the children give him a list or tell them if and how they have been naughty that year. He gives the children who have been good an apple, or an orange."

"But Santa comes with another character. He is sinister looking and has a blacked-out face. His name is Samichlaus and he traditionally carries a broom of twigs for administering punishment to children whose behaviour has been questionable throughout the year," Muller said.


Santa isn't the one bearing all of the gifts that the children have written on their lists, either.

"He does not bring the Christmas gifts. Baby Jesus brings the Christmas gifts on the 24th of December, the day we celebrate Christmas."

When it comes to adorning the family Christmas tree, this is not done in the lead up to Christmas but is part of the actual event itself.

"We celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, and on that day we decorate the Christmas tree. It is traditionally not decorated before that date," said Muller.

In Montreux, a lakeside town on the Swiss/French border, they go one better.

"There are no Santa Claus' in any of the stores or in the town of Montreux. They are not allowed," Clare Keller from Montreux Tourism told The Huffington Post Australia.

"There is only one Father Christmas. He is located up in the mountains in the Santa Claus House, perched in a grotto atop the Rochers-de-Naye. His house and office welcomes families and children."

This is done so that there is no conflict or confusion for the young children.

"There is much snow at the top of the tram trip, and children queue to meet Father Christmas and get their Christmas passport stamped as well as an official certificate," Keller said.

"Then, each evening, he flies across the sky over the lake in his sleigh for the children to see."

This may be possible with a little help from some discreet pulleys and cables, but if you believe (and squint) then it's real.


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