Early in the morning the sound of cannon fire wakes the faithful. For the Catholic residents of Innerrhoden Corpus Christi is known as «Ösehegottstag». Since mediaeval times this church feast day has honoured the Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist, 10 days after Whitsun. On this day the most magnificent processions of the church year take place in Appenzell and its outlying parishes
Already at 6 o’ clock in the morning the centre of Appenzell and the outlying parishes are a hive of activity. The residents are busy decorating their houses with fresh beech foliage and setting up holy images and figures and floral decorations.
In good weather the Corpus Christi church service is held in the open air at 9 o’ clock in the inner courtyard of the St. Antonius School. The colourful procession then makes its way to two lavishly decorated stations at the Landsgemeindeplatz (main square) and the Chlos school house. Preceded by further cannon fire, there are then short prayers and readings and the Eucharistic blessing is given. On the route between the stations the rosary is said.
In each parish the Corpus Christi procession has its own distinctive characteristics, but at the centre of all of them is the holy of holies, the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is taken from the church before the start of the procession.
In Appenzell the «Grenadiers of the Lord God» in Napoleonic uniforms accompany the monstrance containing the host until the final blessing two hours later in the church. The parish priest and the holy of holies are protected by a magnificent baldachin, carried by members of the church council. They are followed by standard bearers of church and secular groups and behind them the flags of the district flutter in the breeze. Local government representatives, the church choir, members of the parish council and pastoral care teams, altar servers, first communicants, scouts, Corpus Christi groups and the Music Society reverently follow the procession. This clear order has been unchanged for generations.
The grandeur of the procession is enhanced by up to a hundred women in traditional feast day costumes and the 15 «Täfelimeedle». These young women in the black and white costume of the unmarried carry painted wooden blocks with the 15 joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary
Appenzell and Gonten, smaller processions in other Innerrhoder communities
Thursday, 10 days after Pentecost, 8th of June 2023