Snowman forecasts lousy summer

How much longer can the böögg hold out? Keystone

Switzerland can look forward to miserable summer weather in 2013 – if Zurich’s giant exploding snowman is to be believed. Fortunately his powers of prediction are notoriously unreliable.

This content was published on April 15, 2013 - 19:46 and agencies

The ceremony of burning the snowman, or “böögg”, rounds off Zurich’s annual Sechseläuten festival, which marks the end of winter. The böögg, his head stuffed with firecrackers, is perched on top of a huge pyre. It is said that the less time it takes for his head to explode, the finer the summer will be.

This year it took exactly 35 minutes 11 seconds from the moment the pyre was lit – an unusually long time.

This contrasted with last year, when he exploded after only 12 minutes and seven seconds, promising a pleasant summer. However, he was wrong: it turned out rainy. In 2007 the national weather service, MeteoSwiss, carried out a study of his predictions over 50 years and found a correlation “close to zero”.

Earlier on Monday thousands of spectators had lined the streets of Zurich to watch the parade of some 5,000 guild members and their guests. The guests of honour included this year’s Swiss president, Ueli Maurer, army chief André Blattmann, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, the Egyptian investor Samih Sawiris, who is developing the resort of Andermatt, and Roger de Weck, director general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.