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Herdsmen Return Cattle In Annual Alpine Descent

By Johannes Simon (GETTY) – Sep 13, 2012 

OBERSTDORF, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13: Herdsmen and women, wearing traditional Bavarian clothes (Dirndl and Lederhosen), accompany cattle down from alpine mountains in the annual cattle drive descent on September 13, 2012 near Oberstdorf, Germany. The herdsmen bring the cattle up to mountain meadows in the spring and stay there throughout the summer, where the animals graze on grass and the herdsmen live in a small huts called an alms, often without electricity, where many make cheese from the cows' milk. The tradition dates back through centuries, and in countries like Germany, Switzerland and Austria alm culture has a deep resonance in folk history. In September the season ends and the herdsmen return the cattle to farmers in a festive ceremony marked by the decoration of the lead cow with a garland, but only if all the cattle survived the summer. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)