Sechseläuten – Zurich’s Spring Festival

When in April the first flowers and trees start to bloom, the temperatures rise and the days become longer, the people of Zurich celebrate their traditional spring festival: Sechseläuten, or “Sächsilüüte” as it is known in local dialect.

I accompanied two sisters from my village going to participate in the children's-parade.The train-station was unusually busy for a Sunday and  the the train was packed with people, many dressed in traditional costumes on their way to Zurich. 

Arriving to Zurich, you could feel a tranquil excitement in the air. Everybody seemed to know where to go and what to do...perfectly organized.

Every guild had their numbered spot, which was easy to find. Even the snowman or the Böögg, as called in Swiss-German, was standing quietly on his spot, ready to explode the day after, predicting how the weather the would be the upcoming summer.

The weather-gods were in good mood, it was not too hot, not too cold and most of all, not wet. Now it just took a little patience until the parade started which didn't seem to be any problem. Some were checking on their sweets others were playing but most were just standing calmly, looking around and simply...waiting.                       

Punctual at 14.30 the parade started. Wagons pulled by horses, musicians and around 3000 children between 5 and 15 years old, were wattled together and started moving towards the central where the public was waiting. The faces filled with pride, ready to give their sweets away to the children waiting by the streets.

The grown ups also got their share.

After about an hour, the children finished their tour, around 3 km, they received the Böögg as a waterbottle and a sandwich. Then they had to be returned to their parents which seemed to be the hardest part. Not simple to sorting out from the crowd of thousands of peoples, who belongs to whom. 

Everyone got returned, also the sisters found their parents. Many stayed in Münsterhof celebrating, others went home resting their little feet after a successful Sechseläuten-Parade.

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