Samichlaus 2022

Celebrated on December 6th in Switzerland, St. Nicholas is a beautiful custom that families can look forward to. Less known amongst expats, St. Nicholas, who is known as Samichlaus in Swiss German, distributes treats such as chocolate, nuts and fruit to children. This differs somewhat from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Father Christmas, the jolly man who delivers gifts and fills stockings just in time for Christmas Day.

The tradition dates back to the fourth century Nicholas of Myrna, a bishop who is the patron saint of children - hence why Samichlaus is often dressed as a bishop and does not necessarily always wear red, though he does sport a white beard. Accompanying him are his forbidding cane-wielding helpers, known as Schmutzli, whom have undergone an image softening as of late. St. Nicholas praises the children and points out the good things, but at the same time gains enough trust to point out where the children could improve.

St. Nicholas also does home visits for which registration is required and open as of now. Set the tone for upcoming Christmas at your household:

Zug
The English procession will start at 6pm from the Gut Hirt Church on Sunday, 27 November. Samichlaus tells a story in church and then distributes treats to the service. Visits to families take place from 1 to 12 December. Samichlaus speaks dialect, German and upon request English. Registration for home visits closes 11 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Baar
Samichlaus will be making his appearance on Saturday, 26 November at the Christchindlimärt (market). There will be a procession as well as a food and drinks stand led by Samichlaus. Visits to families take place between 3 and 6 December. Samichlaus speaks only German. Registration for home visits closes 16 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Cham
Public appearances by Samichlaus are planned in the Villette Park on 3 December from 4.30pm and on 4 December at 6pm for a lantern procession. Visits to families take place from 4 to 7 December. Registration for home visits closes 8 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Hünenberg
Celebrations will be held in the Church of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, 1 December at 6.45pm. This will be followed by the distribution of presents to children and a procession at 7.30pm with followers carrying cow bells, lanterns and whips. Visits to families take place from 3 to 6 December. Registration for home visits closes 9 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Oberwil
Since 1963, Samichlaus has been arriving by boat to Oberwil. Visitors can gather along the Artherstrasse on Tuesday evening, 6 December and join the procession. Visits to families take place between 7 and 9 December. Registration for home visits closes 26 November. More information will be published in the village newspaper "Dorfzytig Oberwil" and signup forms will be posted to all households. Online signup and information (in German) here.

Steinhausen
Samichlaus will be making his appearance at the Christmas market on 25 November and a procession will take place through the village. Registration for home visits closes 17 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Risch-Rotkreuz
Samichlaus will make a public appearance at the Dorfmattsaal on 1 December from 2pm. Instead of doing home visits, Samichlaus will be welcoming families in his cosy hut in the Sijentalwald (forest) from 2 to 6 December. Registration closes 19 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Unterägeri
On 27 November, the annual Chlausauszug takes place from 5pm and Samichlaus meets families at the Catholic Church Unterägeri. Visits to families take place between 3 and 8 December. Registration for home visits closes 15 November. Signup and information (in German) here.

Oberägeri
On 5 December, the annual Chlauseseln takes place from 5pm whereby Samichlaus and his entourage make their way from door to door in the main village quarters. Typically, Samichlaus who is accompanied by Schmutzli enters the house and presents the children with gingerbread, mandarins and nuts once they have recited a poem or a song. Visits to families take place upon request. Signup and information (in German) here.

A comprehensive list of all St. Nicholas events in Zug is available here.

Photos from St. Niklausgesellschaft der Stadt Zug.