Do you know Ursli, the famous children's book written by Celina Chönz and illustrated by Alois Garigiet? This book originated right here in the year 1945 and boasts itself as one of the most famous picture book in all of Switzerland. As of today, millions of copies have been sold and translated into over 8 languages, including Braille.
It's all about an ancient custom called “chalandamarz”, (chalanda = first) and marz = March). Once upon a time, when the Romans occupied this region which was then called Räthien, Chalandamarz was the beginning of the year during the era of the Julian calendar. March was also the month to expel evil spirits. Every year on March 1, children walk through villages, singing and carrying bells of various sizes, determined t to chase away winter. This spectacle also involves whip lashing, ringing of the i infamous Swiss cowbells, walking round and around the village fountains and much more.The customs vary from village to village.
The farmer's boy from Guarda
One day before Chalandamarz - so goes the story - Ursli and his friends visited uncle Gian who gives each of the boys a bell to go and chase evil spirits. But what do you know, poor Ursli receives the smallest one and everybody makes fun of him.
In his sorrow he decides to walk through deep snow, high up the hill to his family's summer stable. There he knows of a big bell hanging on the wall. He'll show them....
Experiencing the story first hand
Discover this wonderful hike for the whole family and read Ursli's story on signs placed from station to station in Romansch, English and German. The “Ursli Way” takes you on a 6 km hike, starting right here in the village and leads you over meadows through forests, over creeks to the idyllic Lake Lajet and over rocks and stones reaching
Alp Suot. This hike is also passable in a shorter version during winter.