*Since my Forest Knights novels have a character, Seraina, who is one of the last druid priestesses, I thought it would be fun to describe some modern-day Swiss festivals with Celtic ties. So that’s what I’ll be doing in the next few posts.*
Maibär, Bad Ragaz, Canton St Gallen
The Swiss really love to dress up as trees. Here is another festival where a guy dons a couple hundred pounds of foliage and waddles through the streets. Thankfully, after a full day of this, his costume gets thrown in the river.
The Maibär festival is held on the first Sunday of May. A conical frame, which may be 4.5 m (over 14 feet) high – is covered with freshly picked foliage, and decorated with ribbons and flags. It is carried dancing through the streets of the village by a young man hidden inside it. Since the frame is so heavy – up to 100 kg (220 lb) – several bearers take it in turns. The Maibär is accompanied by youngsters with cowbells, and by a horde of children collecting money. The noise is supposed to drive away any malevolent spirits which might intend to bring back the winter. The festival ends in the afternoon, when the Maibär is thrown into the Tamina, which flows through the village down to the Rhine.