Driving the cows up to the alpine pastures

In a procession that always features the same traditional elements, farmers take their cows and all their dairying paraphernalia up to the alpine pastures. In Urnäsch, this cattle drive up to the alpine pastures is especially significant. Most of the alpine pastures in the Ausserrhoden part of Appenzell are accessed via the main street through the village. Every year at the start of summer, about 60 herds parade through the village en route to graze their pastureland, and they return along the same route in late summer.

At the head of the procession walk the goats with their boy and girl goatherds. They are followed by the herdsman in his festive traditional costume with yellow trousers. Over his shoulder hangs a wooden milking pail with a beautifully painted base. The herdsman is accompanied by the three lead cows wearing huge bells, followed by four assistants, yodelling from time to time. One wears festive traditional dress, the other three wear the herdsman’s costume with brown trousers. These four lead the cattle on followed by the farmer with his dog. A completely authentic procession also includes a bull and a horse-drawn cart carrying wooden equipment that was once used for processing the milk. At the very end of the procession comes a cart pulled by two horses and laden with pigs.

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