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Candle Dipping is a Thing in Switzerland

Beeswax candles - Moni Sertel  /

Candle dipping is a thing in Switzerland. This statement about the Swiss tradition of 'Kerzenziehen' in a blog post called 'These Swiss Christmas Traditions surprised me' stuck with me for a moment. Growing up in Switzerland I never thought about it much, 'Kerzenziehen', which means 'candle pulling' or 'candle dipping', was just what it was. After thinking it over, I realize that maybe it really is a bit odd and definitely unexpected to someone who is used to quite different Christmas traditions.

Candle Dipping Traditions of my Childhood

During my childhood, candle dipping was simply part of the Christmas season and an activity in which most families of our village took part. A small group of people organized the candle dipping event in a barn or in a school building. In addition to the actual Kerzenziehen there was usually seasonal food like Christmas cookies, hot punch or Glühwein.

If you wanted to dip your very own candle for the season, you first had to pick up a wick. Then you had to dip it once or twice in one of the several pots of hot beeswax. After each round of dipping we had to walk once around the barn to let the wax cool on the wick and become solid. Then we would go for the second round of dipping and another walk around the barn and repeat as many times as needed for the candle to take its shape. Once finished the candle was hung to cool completely before it was weighed and wrapped.

I remember competing with my classmates in who could make the most elaborate candles. We used green ivy leaves to decorate the candles - it looked great on the yellowish color of the beeswax candle! No colored wax in my childhood yet!

Where to go Candle Dipping in Switzerland

Starting in November, you can find a candle dipping tent or booth in most cities in Switzerland. Also, many Christmas markets in Switzerland feature candle dipping as a fun activity.

Here are a few locations for Kerzenziehen in Switzerland:

Aarau: Aarauer Kerzenziehen
Baden: Kerzenziehen Baden
Basel: Weihnachtsmarkt Basel am Münsterplatz
Berne: Kerzenziehen für Jung und Alt
Chur: dsJuig vu Khur
Frauenfeld: Kerzenziehen, Evangelische Kirchgemeinde Frauenfeld
Lucerne: Luzerner Kerzenziehen
Schaffhausen: Grosses Schaffhauser Kerzenziehen
St. Gallen: Hongler Kerzenziehen
Winterthur: Kerzenziehen Winterthur
Zurich: Zürcher Kerzenziehen am Bürkliplatz

If these don't work for you, simply google 'Kerzenziehen', add your location and you'll definitely find a candle dipping opportunity near you!



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