Friday, 11 November 2011

Gansabhäut. Sort of like a Swiss Piñata

Gansabhäut. Sort of like a Swiss Piñata

Ever since I came to Switzerland in 1995, I've liked to photograph various folk festivals.

Today I'm off to photograph the Gansabhäut festival held every November 11th in Sursee, Switzerland. This involves stringing up a dead goose, then having blindfolded youths (not sure if girls take part), trying to decapitate it with a blunt sabre, whilst blindfolded andwearing a golden mask and crimson robes.

Apart from the sword, the robes and the mask, I guess it's a sort of Swiss version of the Mexican Piñata. That's the kind of thing you see on the home video programmes where a blindfolded child wields a baseball bat and (usually) hits an adult between the legs.

Apart from the main event of decapitating a dead goose, there are lots of things for youngsters to do including (but not limited to) an ugly face contest, climbing a pole barefoot, eating sausages dangling on string without hand contact (seriously) and a few others. It all finishes of with a flaming torch procession through the town,  although this last part is relatively new, having been introduced in 1997.

I'll be taking my Eos 5dMkII and my Eos 7D with me. On the 5d, I'll probably mount my 17 - 40 and on the 7D there'll be a 70 - 200 zoom in case I can't get too close. Both cameras will have a flash mounted to add a bit of "punch" to the red robes and the gold masks.

Pictures to follow.

To read a bit more about it in English you can visit the Swiss Tourist board website here. These are some images from previous years to be found here.

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