Apr 15, 2024
Free admission

Sechseläuten, also known as the “six o'clock ringing of the bells”, is a traditional Swiss spring holiday in Zurich, which is usually celebrated on the third Monday of April.

Burning of the Böögg

During the festival, you can enjoy the parade of the Zünft, or the parade of the guilds, but the main event is the burning of the Böögg, which is a figure of a snowman containing explosives. The Böögg is also the symbol for the bogeyman, used to frighten children during carnivals.

History of the Sechseläuten

The history of the festival goes back to medieval times to celebrate summer working hours, as hours were strictly regulated at that time by the church and city council. During the summer working hours, the law proclaimed that all work must cease when the church bells ring at six o'clock, hence the name of the festival.

Bööggs were a separate part of medieval Swiss culture, as they were erected in different parts of the city, separate from the tradition of Sechseläuten. The combination of the Sechseläuten parade with the Böögg burning was introduced in 1902.

Interesting superstition

An interesting superstition about the festival is the time it takes between lighting the pyre and the explosion of the Böögg. This is said to predict the weather of the summer that year. A quick explosion promises a warm, sunny summer while a long wait for an explosion indicates a drawn-out, cold and rainy summer.

Plan your visit today!

Join in this year to witness this unique festival! Along with the parade and the burning of the Böögg, there is also a parade for children, a ceremonial galloping of the guilds, and banquets. Check the official city website for Zurich for more information.

Thumb image credit: © Zürich Tourism / Agi Simoes