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Hornussen

Young Swiss Hornusser

There is probably no sport more Swiss than Schwingen, the Swiss style of wrestling in sawdust. However, another traditional Swiss sport is making headlines these days, as the annual Swiss championship of Hornussen is coming up. It will take place this weekend 25th and 26th of August in Lyss in the Canton of Berne.

Hornussen is not only the name of a Swiss village but also of this interesting sport that looks a bit like a Swiss version of baseball or cricket. It is almost exclusively played in Switzerland with a few German cities joining the fun. Surprisingly there are also some South Africans who are playing and they actually call the game "Swiss Golf". :)

The game of Hornussen is quite simple: The hitter hits the "Nouss" (the ball) in order to make it fly into the opponents playing field or even farther. For this purpose the Nouss is placed on a piece of wood and hit with a long flexible stick that resembles a fishing rod. The opposing team then tries to catch the Nouss with pieces of clapboard (that look a bit like the signs protesters hold up during their marches). Whoever manages to catch more Nousses (or doesn't let as many Nousses fall into the field without hitting them first) wins the game.
Like in baseball, there is no time limit to the game. Usually two rounds of hitting are played (every player gets to hit twice) but in the bigger tournaments like the national championship there are up to 4 rounds. Thus, a game of Hornussen can take several hours!

Hornussen has been around for quite a while as you can see in this tv broadcast from 1958 (in Swiss German only). If you wonder how Hornussen looks like today you can get an impression in this short documentary about "Hornussen - the sport of Swiss farmers":






© 2012 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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