The Bartli Society was founded on 11 February 1900. It is one of the oldest carnival associations in Central Switzerland. However, the Bartli tradition is a custom dating back to the 17th century.
The village of Brunnen seems to have been famous for its carnival since medieval times. The Lucerne Chronicle by Diebold Schilling the Younger records that during the carnival season on 8 February 1508, the ‘three cantons’ met in Brunnen to hold talks.
The name ‘Bartli’ dates back to the 17th century and derives from the apostle St. Bartholomew, who – as the patron saint of the parish church – had pride of place on the right side of the altar. In 1659, the Bartli figure was removed during the construction of the new parish church, and so the people of Brunnen erected a profane likeness of the popular Bartli statue by the sust building and honoured him every year during carnival. Since 1900, the Bartli Society celebrates Fat Thursday with a procession and a gift-giving ceremony for children. The society’s committee is actively assisted by the ‘Bartli Father’, who is newly elected each year.
Since 1989, Strudeli and Strätteli as well as the Woman in White have been among the typical figures of the Brunner Fasnacht carnival. The Fasnacht (the German word for carnival) gets under way with the entrance of the two ‘women of the forest’, or witches, Strudeli and Strätteli. With jestering and mummery, they make madcap, unpredictable mischief and infect the whole village. On the evening of Shrove Monday, the Woman in White uses her magic powers to drive the two women of the wood back into the Wasi Forest and thus bring the mad carnival antics to a close.