Hom Strom festival – One of the most remarkable festivals in Europe, the Hom Strom, takes place in the Swiss town of Scuol. With overtones of "The Wicker Man," locals torch a giant straw effigy in the dead of winter.
Scuol in the shade – The village of Scuol barely sees any sunshine in winter. The HomStrom festival marks the day when the sun no longer hides behind nearby mountains.
Starting them young – Children of all ages are involved in the construction of the Hom Strom. The youngest carry the rye straw from a barn to the site where the man is assembled.
Building the straw man – Older youths, aged between 18 and 21, twist the straw around a pole to create the Hom Strom, under supervision from experienced elders.
Cracking the whip – A young man cracks his whip to defend the Hom Strom. In years gone by, saboteurs would sometimes attack the straw man,
Cake supply – Because when you're celebrating a paganistic fire festival whose origins are lost in the frozen mists of time, you need cake.
A slice of the action – Another tradition whose origins are lost in the mists of time: eating pizza off the Hom Strom.
Man on the move – Once complete, the Hom Strom is transported to a barren plot of land on the outskirts of Scuol.
Fireball frenzy – The boys guarding the Hom Strom replace their whips with fireballs after nightfall, rendering the spectacle even more primitive and otherworldly.