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What is the Onion Market in Bern? About a Traditional Swiss Celebration

Every fourth Monday of November, the city of Bern, Switzerland, holds its annual Onion Market, or "Zibelemärit" in Swiss German. This lively event is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and attracts thousands of visitors each year. In this blog post, we will delve into the history and significance of the Onion Market and what makes it a unique experience for both locals and tourists.

History of the Onion Market

The Onion Market has a rich history that dates back to the 15th century when farmers from the surrounding areas would bring their produce to the city to sell. Over time, onions became the staple item, and the market gradually evolved into the onion festival that it is today. The Onion Market was originally held in the heart of the Old City, but it was eventually moved to the Bundesplatz, the city's main square, in the early 20th century.

What to Expect at the Onion Market

The Onion Market is a vibrant and colorful affair, with the streets and squares filled with stalls selling a variety of onion-related products, including onion braids, wreaths, and soup. The festival's centerpiece is the onion tower, a massive structure built entirely out of onions that is displayed in the middle of the Bundesplatz. The tower can be up to 10 meters high and is meticulously crafted by local farmers and craftsmen in the weeks leading up to the event.

Apart from the onion-related products, the Onion Market also features street performers, musicians, and traditional Swiss food and drink stalls. The atmosphere is lively and festive, with people from all walks of life coming together to celebrate this unique event.

Why Visit the Onion Market

The Onion Market is an essential part of Bern's cultural heritage and provides a fascinating insight into Swiss traditions and customs. It's a perfect opportunity to experience the city's unique atmosphere and taste its local cuisine. The festival also offers an excellent opportunity for visitors to interact with locals and learn about their way of life. Additionally, the Onion Market is an excellent place to buy souvenirs and gifts to take back home.


In conclusion, the Onion Market is an essential part of Bern's cultural heritage and a unique celebration that attracts visitors from all over the world. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn about Swiss traditions, taste local cuisine, and interact with locals. If you are visiting Bern in November, be sure to experience this fantastic festival, and don't forget to try the onion soup!



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