This summer should be “quite good” – if an exploding snowman is to be believed.
It took 12 minutes and seven seconds for the head of the Böögg effigy to explode at the end of Zurich’s Sechseläuten festival on Monday.
The Böögg – 3.4 meters tall and weighing 80 kilos - looks like a giant snowman perched on the top of a huge bonfire. His head is stuffed with fireworks. The fire is lit when the church clock strikes six; the quicker the Böögg’s head explodes, the warmer the summer is supposed to be.
In the last few years it has taken an average of 13 minutes 42 seconds. In forecasting the record hot summer of 2003 it took only five minutes and 42 seconds.
However, in 2007 the national weather service, MeteoSwiss, analysed 50 years of data and found the Böögg's record less than impressive, finding a correlation "close to zero".
Thousands of people had gathered in the streets of Zurich in a light drizzle to watch the parade that preceded the bonfire, organised by the city’s guilds.
The official guests included Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer and the Lord Mayor of the City of London, David Wootton.
Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, this year’s Swiss president, was the guest of honour of the Fraumünster Society, a women’s group which is not invited to take part in the official parade of the guilds, but has to set out 45 minutes earlier.