SechselŠuten

SechselŠuten

Third Monday of April and preceding Sunday
This colorful springtime festival in Zurich, Switzerland, ushers in spring by exploding the Böögg ("snowman"), the symbol of winter. Sechseläuten means the "six-o'clock ringing," and the present custom stems from the 14th-century practice of ringing the cathedral bells at six in the evening (instead of wintertime seven) to proclaim the earlier end of the spring and summer work day. The first ringing of the six o'clock bell was a good excuse for a celebration.
Festivities begin with a children's parade on Sunday, with the children in historical costumes and accompanied by the Böögg, which is stuffed with cotton wadding and firecrackers. On Monday, members of the guilds (formerly, associations of craftsmen, but now social groups) parade through the flag-festooned city in medieval costumes, accompanied by bands. Everyone converges at Sechseläutenplatz on the shore of Lake Zurich at six that evening, the bells ring, groups on horseback gallop around the Böögg to the music of a hunting march, and then the Böögg explodes and burns. Torchlight parades go on into the night, and feasts are held at guild halls.
CONTACTS:
Zurich Tourism
Stampfenbachstrasse 52, Postfach
Zurich, 8021 Switzerland
41-44-215-4000; fax: 41-44-215-4080
www.zuerich.com/en/welcome.cfm
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 71
BkFest-1937, p. 317
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 19
FestWestEur-1958, p. 227