Sechseläuten, Zünfte or Guilds’ Parade, Children’s Parade
Next Sechselaeuten will be on Monday 17th April 2023
Sechseläuten Takes Place on Third Monday of April
Traditionally the third Monday of April in Zurich is Sechseläuten and that means a holiday (or at least a half day holiday for most people). This year Sechseläuten took place in Zurich on 25th April 2022.
2022 Timing – 37 minutes 59 Seconds
In 2022 the Böögg burned in 37 minutes and 59 seconds in sharp contrast to the 12 minutes and 57 seconds of 2021! This should mean that we are in for a bad Summer but the Böögg was incorrect last year – so let’s hope he’s incorrect this year too!
Sechseläuten A Zurich Tradition
Usually it’s all centred around Zurich as Sechselaeuten is a Zurich tradition, not a Swiss wide one. The route that the Guilds usually follow starts in Bahnhofstrasse and goes via Bürkliplatz into Bahnhofstrasse (Contermarsch) along Uraniabrücke and on to Limmatquai finishing at Sechseläutenplatz.
The Zurich Guilds Take Centre Stage at Sechseläeuten
The historic Zurich Guilds, representing ancient trades and craftmen, take centre stage at Sechseläeuten. Today there are still 26 Guilds in Zurich. Twelve of them were founded in Medieval Times, the other fourteen date from 1860 onwards. During the parade they are usually dressed up in costume, on floats, in horse drawn carriages and even walking with camels. It’s an amazing event full of colour music and merriment, celebrating the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring and culminating in the burning of the Böögg.
Sechseläuten literally means the ringing of the 6 o’clock bells. The festival dates back to Medieval times when they celebrated the first day of Summer working hours in all the guildhalls in Zurich.
It was stipulated by law that people should work as long as there was daylight – but during the Summer working hours all work inside had to cease when the church bells tolled at six o’clock. Everyone was happy to change over to Summer hours – and what a good excuse for a celebration!
So what is the Böögg and what does it represent?
You can read more facts about the Böögg here, but he is rather like a giant snowman and sits about 10m high on a pole on a bonfire stack which is usually positioned in the middle of Sechseläutenplatz in Bellevue. (However, in 2021 because of the pandemic he was located in a private location in Uri).
The Burning of The Böögg and Weather Predictions
At precisely 6pm on Monday it is lit and depending on how long it takes to burn it predicts how good (or how bad) the coming Summer will be. The quicker it burns, the better the Summer. According to legend, if it burns in under 6 minutes, it will be a sunny Summer, if it takes between 6 and 10 minutes it will be a cloudy Summer, between 10 and 15 minutes is means a rainy Summer and more than 15 minutes it could actually snow during the Summer!
However, the Böögg is notoriously bad at getting it right, so don’t worry too much if it is a slow burner! It is more likely to mean that the weather was colder or damper prior to burning, and subsequently the stuffing inside the head was slower to ignite.
Sunday is usually when the Kinderumzug, or children’s parade takes place. Starting at 2.30pm this is a procession where the children, dressed up in costume parade down the streets and steal the show.
Sechselaeuten 2023 – Monday 17th April 2023
Finally, a date for your diaries! Sechselaeuten 2023 and the burning of the Böögg will take place on Monday 17th April 2023
More information and Resources:
Children’s Parade: (Kinderumzug): Usually takes place Sunday at 2.30pm
Guilds Procession: Monday afternoon
Burning of the Böögg: Monday at 6pm at Sechseläutenplatz
*** More About Sechseläuten ***
For more information on Sechseläuten click here
Or see some short videos of the Burning of the Böögg below:
See our 10 facts about the Böögg and Sechselaeuten here.
Photos by NewInZurich and Geoff Pegler
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