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Gender equality at the Chalandamarz in Zuoz, Switzerland

The Chalandamarz in Zuoz is very important. The spring custom was made world-famous thanks to Swiss children's book "Schellen-Ursli" (A Bell for Ursli), whose story is set on March 1st, the day when this traditional parade takes place.

Ursli's adventures take place in the Engadine village of Guarda, in southeastern Switzerland, but the actual stronghold of the custom has been the village of Zuoz for many years. Here, the Chalandamarz has remained as it was in the past - with a strict division of the sexes as only boys were allowed to parade with a bell through the little village.

For almost a year there was a dispute in the alpine village because girls were also to take part in the procession. The small revolution was initiated by the local council. It wanted to treat the girls at the Chalandamarz completely equally to the boys in order to comply with the principle of equality.

The idea was that the girls should walk through the village with blue blouses, red caps and bells and help to symbolically drive away winter. However, the proposal met with resistance at the community meeting, so it was withdrawn.

To find out how the dispute was settled, we travelled to Zuoz to see with our own eyes. We asked villagers and visitors, and especially the children, what they thought about it.
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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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