Tschäggättä 2013_detail of mask I will concede that the following teaser entry does not have much to do with running except for the fact that probably a dozen of times yesterday I had to flee from the thirty or so such masked creatures to avoid being applied a glove of snow on my face … I think that my regular running must have helped because, despite having exposed myself heavily on account of the numerous pictures I took of the creatures, I was meted out this punishment (for having been caught) only once — and it was because I was taken off guard from behind while shooting a picture;-)

As there is a beautiful sun out and I would not miss this opportunity to go out running on the snow, I will upload a few pictures of this traditional carnival procession in the canton of Valais/Wallis (probably dating back to the 16th century) we attended yesterday as a teaser entry which I will revise later on — so please come back again if you wish to see more pictures of this highly folkloric event that takes place each year in February in a remote valley of the Swiss alps.

Tschäggättä 2013_masks

Giant samples of the traditional masks used for the procession displayed on a barn more than a century old (click to enlarge).

Tschäggättä 2013_snow glove on picturer-taker before the procession

A picture-taker unaware of the punishment if caught gets a taste of a Tschäggättä‘s snow glove (click to enlarge).

Tschäggättä 2013_predator-like mask

What a fierce-looking Tschäggättä (click to enlarge)!

Tschäggättä 2013_better get out of his way

Another fierce-looking Tschäggättä on the prowl, better get out of the way, I would say … (click to enlarge)

Tschäggättä 2013_fleeing

Caught, although this boy must have thought that by standing on the little mound on the left he would be safe … (click to enlarge)

Tschäggättä 2013_caught_the punishment

Adult men, too, would not be spared … and there was not much point trying to resist a tall and heavily clothed Tschäggättä (click to enlarge).

Tschäggättä 2013_bell

Another particular feature of this alpine carnival was the ear-piercing noise the masked figures (the Tschäggättä) would make with the cow bells they carried (click to enlarge).

Tschäggättä 2013_congregation

Some would even perform a kind of shamane dance (click to enlarge)!

Tschäggättä 2013_witch-like mask

However, there was more to this event than a group of ugly masked figures simply chasing people around and making a lot of noise as you, dear reader, will get to see when I find the time to expand what is for the time being only a teaser entry — you may wish to take a look at the entries my wife has published on her blog in the meantime: