Zwiebelmarkt (Onion Market)

Fourth Monday in November
Zwiebelmarkt is a great celebration of onions and the principal festival of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, known for its bear pit and mechanical clock that displays a parade of wonderful mechanical figures every hour. The onion market is said to date back to the great fire of 1405, after which farmers of the lake region of Canton Fribourg were given the right to sell their products in Bern because they helped rebuild the city. This story is probably a made-up one, since the first documented mention of onions came in the middle of the 19th century.
Farmers at hundreds of stalls offer for sale more than 100 tons of strings of onions, as well as other winter vegetables and nuts. There is a carnival spirit, with confetti battles, people dressed in disguises, and jesters doing satires of the year's events.
Bern Tourism
Amthausgasse 4
P.O. Box 169
Berne, 3000 Switzerland
41-31-328-1212; fax: 41-31-328-1277
AnnivHol-2000, p. 199
FestWestEur-1958, p. 238
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.