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Sechseläuten in Switzerland

Sechseläuten (Swiss German: Sächsilüüte) is an old spring festival that occurs in Zurich every year on the third Monday of April. The rite culminates in the burning of the Böög - a figure of a snowman symbolizing winter.

The Böög symbolizes winter.
The Böög symbolizes winter.
©iStockphoto.com/combodesign

What Do People Do?

The procession of the guilds (Zug der Zünfte) to the Sechseläutenplatz, a square in Zurich, sets off the festivities. At 6:00 p.m. (18:00), the figure of a Snowman whose head is filled with firecrackers is burned at the stake. According to lore, the faster the Böög's head explodes the more pleasant the following summer will be. Thousands of Zurich's inhabitants usually watch the spectacle and round off the day by using the remains of the Böög's stake as a barbecue.

Public Life

Sechseläuten is not an official holiday, but many businesses, offices and banks close for the day. There may be some minor traffic delays in the afternoon due to the procession of the guilds.

Background

The name of the festival literally means “to ring six” and refers to a medieval tradition. According to a law from 1525, the end of the working day was delayed from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (17:00 to 18:00) every year at the March equinox. The switch was marked by the ringing of the cathedral's bell.

Sechseläuten Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonApr 192010SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 112011SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 162012SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 152013SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 282014SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 132015SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 182016SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 242017SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 162018SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 152019SechseläutenObservanceZurich
MonApr 202020SechseläutenObservanceZurich

Quick Facts

Sechseläuten is an old spring festival that is celebrated each year in Zurich, Switzerland.

Sechseläuten 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016 (Zurich)

Sechseläuten 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017 (Zurich)

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
SechseläutenGerman
SechseläutenFrench
SechseläutenItalian
SechseläutenRomansh
SechseläutenEnglish

List of dates for other years

World Holiday on April 18, 2016

Fun Holiday on April 18, 2016

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