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Zibelemärit A 360-degree visit to Bern’s onion market

The fine winter weather drew large crowds to this year’s Zibelemäritexternal link, the picturesque onion market in the Swiss capital, Bern. Take a virtual visit to the heart of this traditional farmers’ festival. 

Extra trains and more than 100 coaches from Switzerland and abroad brought thousands of visitors to the market, where the main attraction was artfully braided onion garlands in all shapes and sizes. According to the organisers, there were 648 stalls altogether, 171 of them selling onion products.

This year, farmers from miles around offered just under 57 tonnes of onions - about the same as last year. The record was set in 2014 with almost 60 tonnes. Other marketers offered arts and crafts, mulled wine and the obligatory onion cake. Children threw confetti into the crowd and hit passersby on the head with plastic hammers, as is customary at the event. 

Officially, the event starts at 6am - even though thousands of die-hard visitors already start the festive day at 4am. One of the highlights for children and adults alike is a confetti battle in the afternoon. 

For the first time, access roads to the streets were secured with concrete bollards. Emergency exits were also signalled, so that the crowds could escape faster in case of emergency situations.

The Zibelemärit dates back to the 19th century, when farmers from the Seeland region beneath the Jura mountains brought onions to the St Martin’s Day market in Bern. 

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