Samichlaus Day – 6th December – Samichlaus in Zurich

Samichlaus and Schmutzli

Photo: St Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zurich

Samichlaus Day – 6th December – Samichlaus in Zurich

Samichlaus Day - 6th December - Samichlaus in Zurich

 Photo: St Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zurich

Samichlaus Day in Switzerland takes place every year on 6th December. Samichlaus, not to be confused with Santa Claus (despite his predilection for the same red hooded cloak and long white beard!) has his origins in Saint Nicholas and 6th December is his designated feast day.

Though not really celebrated in the UK and the US, various other European countries do celebrate this feast and in Switzerland. Samichlaus is accompanied on his journey by his helper Schmutzli, a rather scary looking man with a blacked out face.

Samichlaus and Schmutzli in the forest

 Photo: St Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zurich

Schmutzli is normally depicted as carrying a broom made of twigs for punishing children who haven’t been good during the past year! St Nicholas on the other hand, is renowned for being kind to children and for giving gifts. They both live in the forest and journey through Switzerland bestowing gifts on well behaved children and probably scaring the pants off those whose behaviour has been less than admirable!

Samichlaus Day - 6th December - Samichlaus in Zurich

 Photo: St Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zurich

Children can visit Samichlaus and Schmutzli at the forest hut or Waldhüsli in Zurich, from 10am to 4pm in the week leading up to and including 6th December. Located in the forest between Bucheggplatz and the Neue Waid restaurant you can take the tram 11 or 15 or bus 32 or 72 from Bucheggplatz and follow the signs. For more information (in German) please see here.

Samichlaus Waldhüsli Zurich

Have fun and have a great Samichlaus Day!

 Photo: St Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zurich

Take a look here at a video (in German) showing the Waldhusli:

Another St Nicholas Tradition – Klausjagen

You might also like to read this article about another festival which involves St Nicholas – the Klausjagen which takes place on 5th December.

The Klausjagen St Nicholas Procession Küssnacht am Rigi

Klausjagen in Rigi am Küssnacht


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