What would you do if you had no television, no computers, no soccer team and no video games? You’d work during the day, of course, but when the work was done, you’d probably invent your own games. That’s how many of the world’s games and sports began. Schwingen, or Swiss wrestling, dates back to at least 1200. This game was started by Swiss farmers and dairymen. When the chores were done, they took turns wrestling to see who was the strongest.
Unspunnen is a huge boulder that came from a glacier. It is so heavy that most people can’t even lift it. The strongest men in Switzerland compete to see who can lift and throw it the farthest.
Fun Facts About Traditional Swiss Sports for Kids
- Schwingen is an ancient game, but it was forgotten until people reintroduced it 1805. France ruled Switzerland at the time and the organizers wanted the Swiss to remember their ancient traditions.
- Unspunnen first became an organized sport at a festival to celebrate the departure of the French and Switzerland’s freedom.
- Men participate in yearly competitions and festivals. Winners don’t get money. Instead, they receive useful gifts, such as a young bull, cowbells or furniture.
- One player loses at Schwingen when both his shoulder blades touch the ground at the same time.
- The wrestlers play in a ring filled with sawdust. The winner wipes the sawdust off the loser’s shoulders to show good sportsmanship.
Traditional Swiss Sports Vocabulary
- Swiss: from Switzerland
- Dairyman: someone who raises milking cows
- Glacier: huge, ancient sheet of ice
- Boulder: large rock
- Departure: leaving, exit
All About Traditional Swiss Sports Video for Kids
Here’s a great video for kids on Traditional Swiss Sports:
Traditional Swiss Sports Q&A
Question: What do the Swiss wrestlers wear?
Answer: Swiss wrestlers wear pants and a shirt. They wear a pair of shorts over the pants. The shorts are rolled up so their opponents can hang onto them.
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