Monday, 14. April 2008

Sechseläuten: Zurich’s "Six o’clock bells" ring in spring

Today is our Sächsilüüte and we are welcoming the longer, milder days of spring. So I'm in Zurich today - see you there or tomorrow here.

The Sechseläuten (Swiss German: Sächsilüüte) is a traditional spring holiday in the Swiss city of Zurich celebrated in its current form since 1904.

Every year usually on the 3rd Monday in April some 3,500 colourfully-costumed guildsmen (Zünfte), over 350 horsemen, 50 horse-drawn wagons and around 30 bands parade through Zurich to the Sechselaeutenplatz for the burning of the Böögg. A huge bonfire (13-meters high) with a papier-mâché Böögg (cognate to bogey) on top. At 6 pm they light the bonfire.

Oh, I forgot, the Böögg is stuffed with explosives (who says Zurich is boring?). The amount of time it takes until the Böögg's head explodes is supposed to indicate how good the summer will be ... fast = good ... slow = bad.

With this Livecam by the NZZ you can see the Sechseläutenplatz, where the Böögg will burn. (Normaly it's an interactive webcam but today the cam will be fix because of making a new timelapse video ...)

Burning the Böögg - Timelapse - 2007
(1 pic every 30 sec from 4 am - 10 pm)

(UPDATE 17.04.08: UPS - Neatorama linked to me today (maybe others too) and now it's a big hurry ... many people want to see that video -- please be patient and take it easy, my server is hardly able to run that rate ... it's not like Google or YouTube ... it's just me ... but of course I jump for joy that day!)

Other Clips at YouTube.

You may also like:

Sechseläuten: Burning the Böögg - Zurich's Traditional Spring Festival
by All About Switzerland.
In fact, the celebration already begins on Friday night at the Lindenhof when the official guests (every year from another Swiss canton in turn) are welcomed and brass bands are playing. Saturday night is reserved to a couple of exclusive guild balls (seems not even all guild members are admitted) while the children's parade on Sunday is open to every child wearing a historical costume.

The Official Website of the Sächsilüüte (German).

Böögg Forecast by Meteo Schweiz (German).

Historical background of Zurich, discusses also the guilds (Zünfte)
by The Economist.
Settlement in the Zurich area probably dates back to the Bronze Age. Of the later inhabitants, the most important were the Romans, who arrived in the first century BC and built a fortified settlement which they called “Turicium”. The name “Zurich” is a German derivative of this word.

Some nice images, many from the children's parade: Sechseläuten in Pictures.
More pictures: Sechselauten '06 Photo Gallery by Patrik Maechler.



Posted at 14.04.08 @ 08:47 | Category Various & Sundry |