On January 2nd of every year, Interlaken is haunted by the masked figures of the Hardermann, his wife and his band of followers, the Potschen. Local people are walking through the streets wearing complex carved masks, accompanied by music, drums and bands.
The story behind
When you look up at the mountain of Harder Kulm, you can see the old Monastery that is overlooking the valley of Interlaken. And if you stare carefully, you might be able to see, on the edge of the mountain top, a rock looking like an old man face with a mustache. Which is, according to traditions, the mountain spirit that is helping the monks taking care of Interlaken.
People in town like to dress up like this mountain man and parade in the street of Interlaken. Those masked figures are known as the Potschen. They are running after spectators through the streets roaring and shouting, pulling spectators along, and spreading fear and dread, in order to drive away the spirits of the year that just passed and to call off the new ones coming.
Once the traditional Potschete procession is over, everyone meets up again in Interlaken’s local bars and pubs for a friendly get-together and the party continues. The Harder Potschete has been held traditionally this way for almost fifty years now.
Interlaken is really full of surprises and legends!!
– Love, Balmers –