Armfuls of flowers march by as a celebration to spring erupted onto the streets of Zurich earlier this week. With bags full of every colour carried to the parade, bright flowers are gifted to the passing men, women and children. I suspect all the local florists are a happy bunch.
Marching bands, horse-drawn floats, riders and folk parade through the streets towards the Böögg. The burning, and ultimate explosion, of this snowman, signals the end to winter. Sechseläuten, a local celebration in Zurich around this time every year, welcomes spring and bids farewell to winter.
Traditionally started in the 16th century by the Zurich Guilds, it was a way to allow workers to down tools earlier in summer so as to enjoy some daylight hours. In winter, they worked till dark and in summer, with the longer daylight hours, the bell of Grossmünster tolled at 6 pm to signal the end of the workday. The name literally means ”the six o‘ clock ringing of the bells”.
Nowadays the Zurich Guilds (associations of artisans or merchants) prepare themselves for an afternoon street parade. Members dress up in historical costumes and each Guild is accompanied by a marching band.
This colourful spectacle marches onwards to the beat of drums and lively music providing a feast for the senses. The procession this year entertained the crowds gathered along the streets and even included a bunch of men on stilts, dancing couples, a belly dancer, cyclists on old-fashioned bicycles, dogs and a few camels.
Once they arrive at the Sechseläutenplatz in front of the Opera house, the riders gallop around the Böögg, as the bonfire below is set alight.
Popular tradition now speculates that the time between lighting it and the explosion of the head gives an indication of the summer to come. A quick explosion indicates a hot summer, whilst a delayed one suggests a cold and wet one. If the Böögg is to be trusted, then this summer isn‘t looking great as it took some 17 minutes and 44 seconds to explode.
I like to look to Mother Nature as she changes seasons. Her wisdom reminds me to let go of the cold things that no longer serve me and welcome the new blossoms of creativity that brighten our world.
Happy spring/autumn. Actually, just happy change of seasons friends.
love and light, Delicia xxx