Monday, April 11, 2011

Something Different: Sechseläuten & the Böögg Burning

This is something a little different, but I wanted to share an interesting Zurich Tradition. I do have a polish post that I will write up for a little later tonight.

Sechseläuten is a spring holiday in Zurich. It goes back to the medieval times where guildhalls across the city would celebrate the vernal equinox, which would allow free time in daylight hours after the work day. Sechseläuten in Swiss German means the 6 o'clock ringing of the bells marking the change to summer working hours.

On Sunday we watched the Children's Parade. A wide age range of children walked in a parade in different period outfits. It was really interesting to see all the different outfits of the times.

Today there was another parade of the 26 guilds in their historic dress costumes. I worked a little late so I only saw a bit of the parade as I walked towards Bellevue.

The highlight of the day was watching the Böögg burning. A snowman (Böögg) representing the winter is stuffed with fireworks and placed on the large wood pyre. In English Böögg means bogey and is meant to be a masked figure that scares children a la the Bogeyman. The parade of the guilds ends at where the Böögg is placed. Those mounted on horses, then circle around the Böögg. At 6pm the bottom of the pyre is lit. Now everyone waits to see how long it takes for the head of the Böögg to blow up. Depending on how long it takes will determine the weather of the coming summer.

Just lit
Starting to burn.
Think his head is gone by this point.
And he's gone.
Took 10 minutes and 56 seconds for his head to blow up. So I'm looking forward to great summer weather in Zurich. :P

No comments:

Post a Comment