Every 31 December and 13 January, bizarre and fantastical figures rove the hinterland of the Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. Some wear ornate headdresses, others grotesque animal faces. These are the «Silvesterkläuse» that usher out the old year and ring in the new.
5,000 years ago, people in Europe began erecting stone stelae in the shape of humans. These monuments were likenesses of ancestors that served to unify and nourish the village community through rituals, and legitimised land ownership.
At the Marian shrine of Oberbüren (Canton of Bern), the medieval Catholic Church offered some very special services: children who were stillborn or had died at birth were briefly brought back to life so that they could be baptised and then properly buried.
In 1531, two years after the legendary Milchsuppe (milk soup) incident, a battle took place at Kappel after all. The Protestants suffered a crushing defeat, and were forced to abandon their dreams of an exclusively Protestant Switzerland.
A stained-glass work of exceptional artistic quality dating from 1588, on permanent loan from the Swiss National Museum, adds a touch of dramatic beauty to the Ittinger Museum in the Kartause Ittingen.