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Harder-Potschete

2 January 2020

Experience how the Hardermannli haunts Interlaken with its traditional procession

Every 2 January, Interlaken is haunted by the Hardermannli (the spirit of the Harder Kulm mountain), his wife and their children, the Potschen. Enjoy the traditional procession and watch how the masked Potschen run through the streets spreading terror in their path.

Harder-Potschete at a glance

  • Date: 2 January 2020

  • Location: Interlaken

  • Food/Drink: In Interlaken’s pubs

  • You can enjoy Harder-Potschete free of charge

Ancient traditional procession

Maskierter vor dem Harder am Harder-Potschete Umzug durch Interlaken

Harder-Potschete is a procession rich in ancient folklore. Feel the excitement as the streets of Interlaken fill with expectant spectators. You’ll be able to hear the almost unnerving sound of the heavy bells of the Trychler some distance away. The Hardermannli carries a wooden stick in its hand and, along with his Potschen, infuses a sense of fear and dread in the dense throng of spectators standing on both sides of the street. Marvel at the Potschen’s handmade masks and soak up the legend that surrounds the Hardermannli.

The Hardermannli

Das Hardermannli und sein Wyb anlässlich des Harder-Potschete Umzugs durch Interlaken

Below the Harder summit in Interlaken sits a cliff that resembles a man's huge face and shoulders. This is commonly known as the "Hardermannli" and, according to traditional legend, it is the evil mountain spirit personified. The Hardermannli is the main character in the Harder-Potschete folklore and, on 2 January, he descends onto the people of the Bödeli with his Wyb and the Potschen, his followers. The masked Potschen strike fear and terror into the hearts of those watching this traditional custom, while the noisy procession drives away evil winter spirits. The Hardermannli’s retreat signifies the victory of light over the darkness of night.

Friendly get-together

After the traditional procession, the Potschen discreetly remove their masks and meet in the bars and restaurants of Interlaken for a cosy get-together. The Harder-Potschete has been celebrated in this way for almost 50 years.

Five reasons why you should attend the Harder-Potschete

  • Handcarved wooden masks made by local carpenters

  • Impressive procession

  • Ancient folklore

  • Friendly get-together

  • Event is free of charge

Personal tip

“There are lots of scary masks and they give me goose bumps every year. It's nice to see ancient folklore celebrated with such passion."

Your accommodation in Interlaken – Stay overnight at the foot of Harder mountain

Explore Holiday Region Interlaken and stay overnight.