Out & About in Switzerland: A parade of lights

The Titanic, lit by beets not bulbs, at a previous procession Keystone

Carving faces in pumpkins and illuminating them with candles is a well-known Halloween tradition. In canton Zurich on the second Saturday in November, children do the same with white beets.

This content was published on November 6, 2000 minutes

They take the lit beets and take part in "processions of light".

The largest and most traditional festival is the "Räbechilbi" in the town of Richterswil. At exactly 6:30pm - this year on November 11 - more than 1,000 children and adults will proceed through the darkened town carrying impressively sculpted beet lanterns.

Huge, three-dimensional structures, also made out of hollowed-out beets, have become an integral part of the parade and are based on different themes each year.

The procession is led by a group of women dressed in black. Tradition has it that women about 150 years ago used hollow-out beets for the first time to light the way to the evening church service.

"Beet processions" have also become popular in many parts of German-speaking Switzerland.


Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. 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

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?