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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.

Is Sechseläuten a Public Holiday?

Sechseläuten is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

The <em>Böög</em> symbolizes winter.
The <em>Böög</em> 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

Holiday currently only shown for years 2010–2020.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010MonApr 19SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2011MonApr 11SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2012MonApr 16SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2013MonApr 15SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2014MonApr 28SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2015MonApr 13SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2016MonApr 18SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2017MonApr 24SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2018MonApr 16SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2019MonApr 8SechseläutenObservanceZurich
2020MonApr 20SechseläutenObservanceZurich

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