BAD HINDELANG, Germany – With temperatures due to drop over the coming weeks in the Alpine regions of southern Germany, local farmers bring their cattle down from the high mountain pastures into the verdant valleys in a ceremony steeped in tradition.
The annual ritual, recorded by epa in the southernly town of Bad Hindelang, calls for traditional outfits not only for the participant farmers, who sport embroidered lederhosen and Bavarian woolen hats, but also for the cows, whose necks and horns are adorned with wreaths of autumnal flowers.
Having spent the summer grazing on the high pastures, the cattle, complete with their clanging bells that provide the quintessential soundtrack to Europe’s Alps, are driven back down the mountainside before the summits succumb to snow and ice.
The lolloping bovines are kept in check by the cow herders’ staff as they make their way to the winter holdings.
In one epa image, one of the peaceful beasts peers curiously at a young herder whose task it may be to carry on this seasonal tradition.
The ritual is also observed in Switzerland and Austria.