• Bavarian herders drive cattle down into Alpine valleys in annual tradition
  • Pfronten (Germany), Sep 8 (efe-epa).- Local farmers sporting traditional Bavarian garb on Saturday celebrated the annual ritual of driving their cattle down from high pastures nestled in the southern German region's idyllic Alps into the lower valleys to mark the end of the summer season, as documented by an epa-EFE reporter who witnessed the bucolic spectacle.

    As fall approaches and the month of September heralds chillier temperatures, herders in the town of Pfronten – a minuscule and quaint village located 660 kilometers (410 miles) to the south of Berlin – steered their livestock down the rugged slopes of the verdant mountains while wearing the quintessentially-Bavarian "Lederhosen" (leather pants) and feather-adorned green felt hats.

    Furthermore, the ceremony's lolloping bovine protagonists were also dressed up to the nines, some even flaunting colorful garlands made with autumnal flowers while clanging their instantly-recognizable bells.

    The herd, composed of the more than 400 cows populating the Achtal and Vilstal valleys, descended the steep mountainside after a 100-day high-altitude stay into the town's Scheidplatz (literally meaning "division square"), where the herders handed the cattle to their owners in a ceremony topped with copious amounts of beer.

    The age-old tradition, known in German as "Allgäu Viehscheid," is observed throughout Europe's highest and most extensive mountain range system – not only in the picturesque south of Bavaria, but also in parts of Alpine Switzerland and Austria.