Traditions of Alpine cooperatives

Alpine farming is collectively organised in many places, whether on the basis of jointly owned property or in the form of farming cooperatives. The summer grazing of livestock belonging to various owners always involves bringing the herds together at the start of the summer and then splitting them up at the end, at the same time as the Alpine produce is shared out. Over the centuries, rituals have developed in connection with both transitions, from private to collective then back again, and these rituals have become traditions in certain places that are still practised to this day. Chästeilet (sharing out the cheese) and Schafscheid (dividing the herds of sheep) are examples of these moments of transition in the Alpine and agricultural calendar. Methods of farming have changed drastically since the first half of the 20th century and in many places there are precious few reminders of the time before these changes. However, in some places the rituals have survived as traditions, partly because they have assumed an importance for the local farming community or for tourists that goes beyond their specific purpose in the Alpine economy. Among the best-known traditions of this type are the ‘Chästeilet Justistal’ in the commune of Sigriswil (Canton Bern) and the ‘Schafscheid Riffenmatt’ in the commune of Guggisberg (Canton Bern).


Category

Oral expressions
Knowledge concerning nature


Canton


Detailed description


Video

Publications

Atlas der schweizerischen Volkskunde. Basel, 1950-1995

Emanuel Friedli: Bärndütsch als Spiegel bernischen Volkstums, Band 3: Guggisberg. Bern, 1911

Therese Krähenbühl: Wie im Justistal seit 300 Jahren auf neun Alpen gekäst und geteilt wird. In: Berner Zeitung, 20.9.2012

Therese und Samuel Krähenbühl: Das Justistal und seine Alpen (www.rothorn-schwanden.ch/images/Ausflugsziele/chaesteilet.pdf, 9.9.2017)

Gottlieb Jakob Kuhn: Versuch einer ökonomisch-topographischen Beschreibung der Gemeinde Sigriswil. In: Alpina, Band III. Winterthur, 1808, p. 116-169

Christian Pfister: Im Strom der Modernisierung. Bevölkerung, Wirtschaft und Umwelt, 1700-1914. Geschichte des Kantons Bern seit 1798. Bern, 1995

Adolf Schaer-Ris: 1347-1947. Sechshundert Jahre Sigriswil. Sigriswil, 1943

Adolf Schaer-Ris: Sigriswil. Berner Heimatbücher 63. Bern, 1979 (2. Auflage)

Schafscheid in Riffenmatt. In: Die Berner Woche, 32 (1942)

Arthur Schärli: Höhepunkt des schweizerischen Tourismus in der Zeit der «Belle Epoque» unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Berner Oberlandes: kulturgeschichtliche Regionalstudie. Bern, 1984

Richard Weiss: Das Alpwesen Graubündens: Wirtschaft, Sachkultur, Recht, Älplerarbeit und Älplerleben. Chur, 1992

Keywords

Summer

Contact

Vereinigte Alpgenossenschaften Justistal
Grönstrasse 39
3655 Sigriswil
E-Mail

Gemeinde Guggisberg, Gemeindeverwaltung Organisation Markt
Dorf 67
3158 Guggisberg
E-Mail

Print contact

https://www.lebendige-traditionen.ch/content/tradition/en/home/traditions/traditions-of-alpine-cooperatives.html