Eierläset


Category:
Social practices
  • Oral expressions
Canton:

Description

Eierläset, a festival around an egg race, is a long-established spring and fertility custom designed to drive out winter. It is run by the regional gymnastics associations in many communities of the Cantons of Aargau, Solothurn and Basel-Landschaft. Two lanes are created, each marked out by 80 to 100 eggs nested in piles of sawdust. Two teams compete, one representing winter, the other running for spring, and each comprising a number of runners and one or two catchers. When the teams have assembled, the competition between winter and spring begins. The first runner in each team sprints to the egg furthest away, picks it up, rushes back and throws it to the catcher and his chaff basket. If the egg falls to the ground, the runner must complete the distance again, but may not pick up another egg to deliver to the catcher. The task is then repeated by all the other runners in the team, and there are additional special tasks set at every tenth egg. The team which manages to deposit all their eggs with their catcher first wins, but occasionally the balance is intentionally tipped so that spring is victorious.

In a few communities in the canton of Aargau there are variations of the event which include characters with elaborately designed costumes such as the “Schnäggehüsler” (who is covered in snails’ shells), the “Stächpälmler” (holly bush) or “Pfarrer” (priest). These characters are allocated either to spring or to winter. While the runners are in action symbolic fights break out between the two sides.

Image gallery

  • Auenstein, AG: Rough and tumble between spring and winter during the egg race © Eieraufleser Auenstein, 2009
  • Auenstein, AG: Spring and winter entering the arena © Eieraufleser Auenstein, 2009
  • Effingen, AG: A rider followed by an egg runner coming into Dorfstrasse © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Effingen, AG: An egg runner, with spring and winter characters on the right © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Effingen, AG: The “fir tree” pinning down the “straw man” on Dorfstrasse © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Frenkendorf, BL: A runner performing a balancing act with a hockey stick as he completes one of the special challenges set at every tenth egg © TV Frenkendorf, 2011
  • Frenkendorf, BL: The gymnastics association races against a different competitor each year; here the opponents are the fire brigade © TV Frenkendorf, 2011
  • Blauen, BL: Wooden blocks instead of sawdust, making the clearing up a bit easier © Fabian Meury, 2011
  • Wegenstetten, AG: An opening, shorter competition involving mother/child and father/child groups racing against each other © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Oberhof, AG: The special challenge that comes at every tenth egg calls for dexterity © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Oberhof, AG: Some eggs miss their target © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Effingen, AG: The pulpit for the sermon that follows the egg race © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: Preparing the racecourse © Bernhard Meister, 2007
  • Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: Anyone who deposits two eggs at once must run the length of the course twice © Bernhard Meister, 2007
  • In Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: The red and white costumes of the competitors are a reference to Solothurn © Bernhard Meister, 2010
  • Auenstein, AG: Rough and tumble between spring and winter during the egg race © Eieraufleser Auenstein, 2009
  • Auenstein, AG: Spring and winter entering the arena © Eieraufleser Auenstein, 2009
  • Effingen, AG: A rider followed by an egg runner coming into Dorfstrasse © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Effingen, AG: An egg runner, with spring and winter characters on the right © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Effingen, AG: The “fir tree” pinning down the “straw man” on Dorfstrasse © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Frenkendorf, BL: A runner performing a balancing act with a hockey stick as he completes one of the special challenges set at every tenth egg © TV Frenkendorf, 2011
  • Frenkendorf, BL: The gymnastics association races against a different competitor each year; here the opponents are the fire brigade © TV Frenkendorf, 2011
  • Blauen, BL: Wooden blocks instead of sawdust, making the clearing up a bit easier © Fabian Meury, 2011
  • Wegenstetten, AG: An opening, shorter competition involving mother/child and father/child groups racing against each other © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Oberhof, AG: The special challenge that comes at every tenth egg calls for dexterity © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Oberhof, AG: Some eggs miss their target © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Effingen, AG: The pulpit for the sermon that follows the egg race © Karin Janz, 2010
  • Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: Preparing the racecourse © Bernhard Meister, 2007
  • Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: Anyone who deposits two eggs at once must run the length of the course twice © Bernhard Meister, 2007
  • In Kyburg-Buchegg, SO: The red and white costumes of the competitors are a reference to Solothurn © Bernhard Meister, 2010

References and documentation

Publications
  • Robert B. Christ: Effinger Eieraufleset. In: Brugger Neujahrsblätter 1961. Brugg, 1961, p. 15-20

  • Kurt Meuli: Schneggehüsler, Blätzliböögg und Federehans. In: Schweizer Volkskunde no. 1, vol. 28. Basel, 1938, p. 1-10

  • Ulrich Weber, Heinz Fröhlich: Aargauer Bräuche. Aarau, 1983

  • Schriftliche und mündliche Rückmeldungen von Vereinen und Gemeinden im Projekt der Kantone Aargau und Solothurn zu den lebendigen Traditionen, 2010-2011

Documentation
  • Eierläset

    Ausführliche Beschreibung Last modification: 27.08.2012
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