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Out & About in Switzerland: Pilatus raises the flag

Flag throwing Swiss style Keystone

A spectacular flag-waving event of a very Swiss nature is to be held on August 27 on top of Mount Pilatus near Lucerne. About three dozen "flag throwers" will take part in the first-ever national event of its kind.

This content was published on August 22, 2000 - 17:10

"Flag throwing" is believed to have been introduced to Switzerland by returning mercenaries centuries ago. Today "flag throwers" are part of yodelling troupes, bringing colour and a display of athletic skill to the performances.

The "flag throwers", dressed in traditional costume, often compete against one another in singles and doubles events. To enter competition, they have to master as many as 50 different throws, twirls and tosses with their silk flag.

At the Pilatus event, alphorn groups and yodellers will provide the musical accompaniment.

Visitors will also be able to participate. Those with sharp eyes can do a William Tell impersonation in a crossbow contest or try their luck at a very unusual Swiss game, Talerschwingen, which amounts to keeping a coin rolling around the rim of a large bowl.

There are several routes to the top of the 2,000 metre high Mount Pilatus, above Lake Lucerne, and all of them are breathtaking. The cogwheel railway, which starts at Alpnachstad, is the steepest of its kind in the world (gradient 48 degrees). There are also cable cars and gondolas leaving from other base stations.

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Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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