Sarganserland alpine blessing


Category:
Oral expressions
  • Knowledge concerning nature
Canton:

Description

The Sarganserland alpine blessing is a prayer with which shepherds in the region between the Walensee and the Tamina valley appeal to God, Mary and the saints for protection against dangers during the alpine summer. By reciting the prayer, they commit all the living creatures on the alpine pastures as well as their honour and property to the care of a higher power. The alpine farmers learn the blessing as school children together with the Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria and the creed and usually recite it from the hilltops every day. The prayer takes the form of a recitative based on just a few notes, making it reminiscent of the Gregorian chant of the Roman Catholic church. The Sarganserland animal and shepherds' blessing first appeared in print in 1862, while the musical notation was published in 1867 and an audio recording in 2006.

Image gallery

  • The alpine blessing on Alp Lasa, canton of St. Gallen. Transcription by Heinrich Szadrowsky © Heinrich Szadrowsky, 1864
  • A milk funnel by Weissküfer Johann Fässler (a Weissküfer is a traditional woodworker specialising in the production of utensils for the dairy industry), Appenzell, 1972 © Graphikklasse der Kunstgewerbeschule Bern/Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser
  • Prayer call in Eastern Switzerland, probably Sarganserland
  • The alpine blessing on Alp Lasa, canton of St. Gallen. Transcription by Heinrich Szadrowsky © Heinrich Szadrowsky, 1864
  • A milk funnel by Weissküfer Johann Fässler (a Weissküfer is a traditional woodworker specialising in the production of utensils for the dairy industry), Appenzell, 1972 © Graphikklasse der Kunstgewerbeschule Bern/Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser
  • Prayer call in Eastern Switzerland, probably Sarganserland

Audio

Albert Good, Mels, canton of St. Gallen: alpine blessing © Aus: Bättruef. Alpsegen. Swiss Alpine Prayer. Ed. Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser. Oberhofen am Thunersee: Zytglogge Verlag und Schweizer Radio DRS, 2006 (Track 10)

References and documentation

Publications
  • Brigitte Bachmann-Geister: Der Betruf in den Schweizer Alpen. Zürich, 2006

  • Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser (Ed.): Bättruef. Alpsegen. Swiss Alpine Prayer. Ed. Zytglogge Verlag. Oberhofen am Thunersee, 2006 (CD)

  • Werner Burkhard: Ein literaturgeschichtliches Lesebuch. Von den Anfängen bis ins Barockzeitalter (Schriftwerke deutscher Sprache 1). Aarau, 1964

  • Alois Senti: Sagen aus dem Sarganserland (2 Bände). Basel, 1974/1998

  • Alois Senti: Sagen aus dem Sarganserland. Nachlese. In: Schweizer Volkskunde 94. Basel, 2004, p. 61–89

  • Alois Senti: Der Sarganserländer Alpsegen. Mels, 1994

  • Justin Winkliner: Der Betruf des Sarganserlandes. Aspekte mündlicher Tradierung. In: Schweizer Volkskunde 71.5. Basel, 1981, p. 88–95

  • Bruno Moll: Alpsegen. Mit Franz Ambauen, Josef Brun, Mina Inauen. 2012 (Dokumentarfilm)

  • Tonisepp Wyss-Meier: Der Betruf im deutschsprachigen und rätoromanischen Raum. Appezell, 2007, p. 124–130

Documentation