Räbeliechtli is celebrated in early November mostly in the German-speaking regions of Switzerland. Children carve radishes into lanterns. The festival has its roots in Nordic traditions.

The word Räbeliechtli comes from "rabe" or "rübe" meaning "turnip" and "liecht" or "licht" meaning "light". The "li" at the end of the word is the diminutive, making it "the little light of the turnip".

As part of the festival, children sing this song (especially the first verse)...

Räbeliechtli - Swiss Children's Songs - Switzerland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


People walk in a procession with their lanterns in towns and villages or schools. Sometimes they walk with their families and sometimes it's part of a school event.


Alternate Spelling:

Räbeliechtli, Räbeliechtli,
wo gasch hii?
I de tunkle Nacht,
ohni Schtärneschii,
da mues mis Liechtli sii.

Räbeliechtli, Räbeliechtli,
wo bisch gsii?
Dur d'Strass uuf
und s'Gässli ab,
Gäll Liechtli lösch nöd ab. (For sure, the little light doesn't die out)

Räbeliechtli, Räbeliechtli,
wänn gahsch hei?
Wänn de Biiswind blast
und mer s'Liechtli löscht
dann gahn ich wider hei.

You can read more about the Turnip Festival in Switzerland on Mama Lisa's Blog.

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Räbeliechtli

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Translated by Lisa Yannucci and Monique Palomares.

Photo: Räbenlichter, cc.

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