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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 - 14:39

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.

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