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Swiss Traditions... Failed!

Zurich's spring tradition failed due to strong wind

Every year on the 3rd Monday in April the people from the city of Zurich burn the winter
Böögg / Snowman

For the first time since the introduction of the Sächsilüüte, the Böögg (snowman) could not be lit due to strong winds! They still have to see what happens to it, but it will probably be burned afterwards in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden (a Swiss canton), which was invited at this year's Sächsilüüte.

It is not the first time the Böögg could not be lit at six o'clock.

  • 𝟭𝟵𝟮𝟭 A boy, at the instigation of communists, set fire to the Böögg at 13.30h, luckily they were able to get a replacement

  • 𝟭𝟵𝟮𝟯 Due to very heavy rainfall, it was impossible to set fire to the Böögg

  • 𝟭𝟵𝟰𝟭 Celebration was cancelled due to the war and the field was used to plant vegetables

  • 𝟭𝟵𝟰𝟯 The war was still going on and therefore the burning of the Böögg was moved to the harbour of Enge

  • 𝟭𝟵𝟰𝟰 Once again, due to the war, the celebration took place at Enge, only this time a mishap happened and the snowman fell into the water

  • 𝟮𝟬𝟬𝟲 The Böögg was kidnapped but replaced by a new one

  • 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬 No parade or celebration could take place due to the Covid pandemic

  • 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭 Covid still prevented a celebration and therefore the Böögg was burned at the Devil's Bridge in the canton of Uri

The Sächsilüüte Tradition how it should be and how it started

Sächsilüüte (six o'clock ringing)

On the third Monday in April, the guilds of Zurich wear their historical costumes proudly in a procession through the town. They assemble at the Sechseläuteplatz square at Bellevue where, at six o'clock, the "Böögg" is lit. Representing winter, the “Böögg” is a snowman figure made of wood and material and packed with explosives. It sits on a burning pyre encircled by galloping horses while the air is filled with the sound of the Sechseläuten march. The quicker the Böögg loses its head, the quicker the end of winter will come. Later in the evening the members of the guilds and their guests enjoy a meal in the guild houses before visiting neighbouring guilds.

Sechseläuten is closely related to the guilds, which were established in the 14th century. In the 19th century the guilds lost their political power, but they continued as private associations. An early procession, albeit with a carnival feel, took place in 1837. The children's procession, which now takes place on the Sunday before Sechseläuten, first took place in 1862. The Central Committee of Zurich Guilds has organised Sechseläuten and the burning of the Böögg since 1893, and today the event attracts tens of thousands of spectators. In recent years, the embers of the pyre have been used for unofficial barbecues.

(Translation from WebSite 'Lebendige Traditionen, picture 'Zurich Tourismus')

Thank you to Betsy Belart-Vaia and Helena Baum for the pictures!


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