Hom Strom

Social practices


In the afternoon of the first Saturday in January, the older children from Scuol meet on the square in the lower part of the town to build a ‘Hom Strom’ (straw man). They place an old telephone pole, some eight-metres long, on two trestles. They braid rye straw that is specially cultivated for this purpose and harvested by hand in autumn to fashion two long thick strands. These are attached to both ends of the pole and wound tightly around the pole until the roll has a diameter of about two metres. The Hom Strom is transported by truck to a meadow outside the village, where members of the school and the local council use ladders to stand the Hom Strom up and place it in a prepared hole. People must then stand guard over the Hom Strom so that boys from the neighbouring village don’t set it on fire ahead of time.

In the evening, the population of Scuol gathers with other guests in the field near the Hom Strom, while the oldest students light up the area with their ‘Bombas’ (fireballs), made of petrol-soaked rags. At 8pm sharp, the straw man is set on fire, and everyone sings the Hom Strom song, which local poet Men Rauch composed for the event in 1954.

Image gallery

  • The youngest children carry the rye straw (Scuol, 7.2.2017) © Dominik Täuber
  • The sheaves are braided into strands (Scuol, 4.2.2017) © Benedict Stecher
  • The Hom Strom is built on the village square (Scuol, 7.2.2017) © Dominik Täuber
  • A pipe is used to turn the pole (Scuol, 4.2.2017) © Benedict Stecher
  • The strands are wrapped tightly around the pole (Scuol, 4.2.2017) © Benedict Stecher
  • The straw man is ready for transport (Scuol) © Manuel Schmid, winterfeuer.ch
  • Ladders are used to stand the Hom Strom up (Scuol) © Scoula Scuol
  • Fireballs light up the field (Scuol, 6.2.2010) © Nicolo Bass, Posta Ladina
  • Students swing the ‘Bombas’ in the air (Scuol, 7.2.2015) © Dominik Täuber
  • Shortly before the big moment (Scuol, 7.2.2015) © Dominik Täuber
  • Everyone joins in to sing the Hom Strom song (Scuol, 7.2.2015) © Dominik Täuber
  • After a few moments, the Hom Strom is blazing (Scuol) © Scoula Scuol
  • The Hom Strom song (Scuol) © Scoula Scuol


Hom Strom (7.2.2016) © RTR

Hom Strom, 2017 © Manuel Schmid (https://www.winterfeuer.ch/)

References and documentation

  • Domenic Feuerstein: Der «Hom strom» in Scuol. In: Heimatleben
    28/1, 1955, p. 16–19

  • Gudench Barblan: Sitten, Gebräuche und Volksfeste im Unterengadin. In: Schweizerisches Archiv für Volkskunde 19, 1915, p. 65–84

  • Balser Biert: Hom Strom in Scuol. In: Das Jahr der Schweiz in Fest und Brauch. Ed. Rolf Thalmann. Zürich, 1981

  • Paul Eugen Grimm: Scuol. St. Moritz, 2012

  • Fadrina Hofmann: Scuol feiert auch heute noch den Sonnengott. In: Südostschweiz, 9.2.2015

  • Gabriela Holderegger, Jano Felice Pajarola: Der Strohmann entgeht nie seinem Schicksal. In: Muntognas magicas. Chur, 2011

  • Cla Schur: Gelebtes Brauchrum: Der Hom strom in Scuol. In: Bündner Woche, 13.2.2013

  • Erich Schwabe: Feste und Traditionen in der Schweiz, Band 1. Neuenburg, 1984

  • Walter Schweizer: L'hom strom: ein alter Engadiner Brauch. In: Feierabendkalender 1968, p. 106–108

  • Schulkinder Scuol: Hom-Strom-Lied. Aufnahme von Radio Télévision Suisse Romande. In: Der klingende Jahreskreis (Compact Disc). Oberhofen am Thunersee (Zytglogge), 2013

  • Hom Strom

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