Burning of the Böögg

OK, so I’m a little behind on this, but in April, my friend Stacy and I went to see the burning of the Böögg in Zürich. The Böögg is a giant snowman that is set alight atop a huge pyre and the length of time that it takes to burn predicts the length of the precious summer weather here in Switzerland – sort of like Groundhog Day in the US. This is part of a uniquely Zürich festival called Sechseläuten.
The pristine Böögg, pre-fire.

Before the fire starts, the day is filled with parades of the ancient Zürich guilds. The guilds are absolutely ancient, dating back to the 13th century, and the membership in the guilds is carefully passed from family to family.

Guilds on Parade

The guilds wear costumes from several different eras. We saw Renaissance, 1700’s, 1800’s, and even… zoot suits???

Zoot Suit Riot?

After the parade, the Böögg is lit, and horsemen from the guilds gallop around it in circles. What I faled to get a picture of (I’d put my camera away – it was unbelievably crowded) is the popping of the fireworks as the head exploded.

FIRE!
And lastly, here’s a video of the vast crowds and the fire:

More photos here.

For more information about Sechseläuten and the Böögg, Wikipedia has a great article here.

A rundown of the guilds of Zurich can be found here.

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