Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Yesterday was the Sechseläuten, a traditional spring holiday in Zürich. Its name is derived from the fourteenth century custom of ringing the Grossmünster bell at six o'clock in the evening to proclaim the end of the summer semester working day. The first ringing of the bell was marked by a celebration.

On Monday afternoon, the members of all the 25 guilds (Zünfte) proceeded through the flag bedecked city, wearing historical costumes and accompanied by various bands.

We had the guild of the bakers and millers:

The guild of the tailors :

The guild of the wine makers:

And many others...

People came along with huge bunches of flowers that they gave to the men and women taking place in the parade.

Following the parade, the climax of the day was the burning of Winter in effigy, in the form of the Böögg, a figure of a snowman prepared with explosives.

We got too tired after following the parade around town in the blazing sun to stay to see the Böögg burn. Popular tradition has it that the time between the lighting of the pyre and the explosion of the Böögg`s head is indicative of the coming summer: a quick explosion promises a warm, sunny summer, a drawn-out burning a cold and rainy one.

I shall keep you updated on the summer weather forecast later this week once I find out how long the snowman put up a fight this year :-)

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