Mountain life for a cattle herder is filled with traditions and for centuries such traditions have been handed down for generations. For the inhabitants cattle plays an important role economically and as the season changes and so the cattle would have to be moved up to higher plains then back to the lower plains. In the summer they are taken up to the mountains (La Poya) where they will remain till the arrival of winter. After spending the summer months in the mountains, the cows are lead to descent to the plains for the winter season (La Ryndia a Patois dialect word meaning return to the plains) In the mountainous regions in Switzerland this means great festivities and the annual tradition continues to be celebrated in the villages. One of the largest and for its 35th year, is held in the mountain village of Charmey in the heart of the beautiful region of La Gruyère. Cattle descent festival usually starts at the end of September beginning of October depending on the villages. The procession of cattle in their colourful attire is quite impressive. They would come in herds each decorated with flowers and specially made collars tied around their neck with carved bells. The mesmerizing sounds of alpine cow bells rhyme joyously with colourful traditional costumes. The weather was great and I had the most enjoyable time shooting these adorable cows.
As the sun rises the first cattle descent begins lead by herders dressed in traditional costumes. The cattle procession continues till early afternoon.
Here are some images taken during the cattle descent in the mountain village of Charmey.
In the village celebration continues with alphorn players and the famous Swiss flag thrower.
A fun day exploring Charmey during the festivities while meandering through the traditional market selling local specialties.