Sechseläuten


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

On the third Monday in April, the guilds of Zurich don their historical costumes and wear them proudly in a procession through the town. They assemble at the Sechseläuteplatz square at Bellevue where, at six o'clock, the "Böögg" is lit. Representing winter, the “Böögg” is a snowman figure made of wood and material and packed with explosives. It sits on a burning pyre encircled by galloping horses while the air is filled with the sound of the Sechseläuten march. The quicker the Böögg loses its head, the quicker the end of winter will come. Later in the evening the members of the guilds and their guests enjoy a meal in the guild houses before visiting neighbouring guilds.

Sechseläuten is closely related to the guilds, which were established in the 14th century. In the 19th century the guilds lost their political power, but they continued as private associations. An early procession, albeit with a carnival feel, took place in 1837. The children's procession, which now takes place on the Sunday before Sechseläuten, first took place in 1862. The Central Committee of Zurich Guilds has organised Sechseläuten and the burning of the Böögg since 1893, and today the event attracts tens of thousands of spectators. In recent years, the embers of the pyre have been used for unofficial barbecues.

Image gallery

  • The guilds in their procession down Limmatquai © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • Guild music from the Zunft zur Waag (guild of weavers and dyers) © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The Böögg © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The Böögg on fire © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The “Gesellschaft zur Constaffel” society on Limmatquai © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The “Gesellschaft zur Constaffel” society riding around the Böögg © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The guilds in their procession down Limmatquai © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • Guild music from the Zunft zur Waag (guild of weavers and dyers) © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The Böögg © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The Böögg on fire © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The “Gesellschaft zur Constaffel” society on Limmatquai © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010
  • The “Gesellschaft zur Constaffel” society riding around the Böögg © Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs, 2010

Audio

The Zurich Sechseläuten March, recorded in 2008 by Stadtmusik Dietikon with Schützenspiel UOG, Vereinigtes Zunftspiel der Zunft zum Kämbel and the Guild of the City of Zurich (from the CD “Böggenhits. A musical journey through Zurich’s Sechseläuten”) © Stadtmusik Dietikon, Schützenspiel UOG/Kalt Communications GmbH

References and documentation

Publications
  • Markus Brühlmeier, Beat Frei: Das Zürcher Zunftwesen. Zürich, 2005

  • Andreas Honegger: Zürcher Sechseläuten. Constaffel und die 25 Zünfte. Zürich, 2003

  • Martin Illi: Zünftige Tradition. In: Zürcher Wirtschaftsmagazin. Das Magazin der Zürcher Kantonalbank no. 1, Zürich, 2010, p. 4-6.

  • Marius Risi: Alltag und Fest in der Schweiz. Eine kleine Volkskunde des kulturellen Wandels. Zürich, 2003

  • Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs (Ed.): 650 Jahre Zürcher Zünfte. Zürich, 1986

  • Zentralkomitee der Zünfte Zürichs (Ed.): Zürcher Sechseläuten. Eine Gebrauchsanweisung. Zürich, 2004

Documentation
  • Sechseläuten

    Ausführliche Beschreibung Last modification: 24.08.2012
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    Type: PDF