To celebrate the end of the harvest, people in the Swiss town of Richterswil have a turnip fair called Räbechilbi. The fair takes place every year on the second Saturday in November.
Nowadays, they harvest 25 tons of turnips! In honor of the festival they make lanterns out of the turnips. There are so many turnips that they’ve made a machine to help hollow them out. Once the turnips are hollow, they carve beautiful designs into them.
For a few days before the fair, the whole town is busy making these lanterns.
After dark on the day of the fair, they parade through town with their lanterns lighting the way.
The tradition of carving out the lanterns came out of a legend dating back to the mid nineteenth century, telling how the farmers’ wives living in the hills around the town would make lanterns out of turnips, to light the way home from church at night in the middle of the winter. The first known parade dates back to 1884. Nowadays the parade is led by churchgoing women dressed in dark colors.
The people in Richterswil also make large group sculptures by placing many lanterns in a pattern. Every year, on this night in November, the town glows in a beautiful yellow light.
There’s a song related to this festival called Räbeliechtli (Little Turnip Lantern).
Come visit The Mama Lisa’s World Switzerland page for more Children’s Songs from Switzerland.
If anyone knows of any songs related to the Turnip Festival or other Swiss songs, please comment below.
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One Response to “The Turnip Fair in Switzerland – Marked by Thousands of Lanterns made out of Turnips!”
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October 14th, 2007 at 3:52 pm
The song is:
Rabe Liechtlie, rabe liechtli
Wo gosh he?
in die dunkli nacht….
I cant remember the rest but am searching right now and came upon your site!