Summer 2015 will be a crummy one if you believe the forecast of a burning snowman. On Monday, the traditional Sechseläuten ceremony in Zurich was crowned by the explosion of a giant exploding bogeyman – the Böögg.
The annual event, held on the third Monday in April, marks the end of winter. The Böögg’s head is stuffed with firecrackers and perched on top of a huge pyre. It is said that the less time it takes for his head to explode, the better the summer will be. Somewhere between 10 and 12 minutes is considered pretty good, but on Monday, it took 20 minutes and 39 seconds.
However, the Böögg isn’t always right. Last year it took him seven minutes and 23 seconds to lose his head, allegedly heralding a great summer. But in fact it was rather cold and rainy.
The Sechseläuten holiday also features a parade of Zurich’s guilds – complete with costumes, music, floats and horses. Those same steeds gallop around the pyre as crowds shout and make merry. Libations flow freely, and some revelers roast sausages in the enduring embers.