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Swiss snowman to set London on fire

London residents are to get a taste of one of Zurich's most traditional festivals where a large snowman-like figure - the Böögg - is burned until its head explodes.

A Böögg will be set ablaze on the banks of the River Thames in November at the annual swearing in ceremony of the Lord Mayor of London.

Almost 700 members of Zurich's guilds will attend the ceremony, which in Switzerland marks the end of winter.

According to tradition, the faster the head explodes the better the summer will be.

Aurelia Carlen from Zurich's tourism agency hopes that the burning of the Böögg will allow Londoners to see a more playful side to Switzerland's financial capital.

The event will be covered by Britain's national broadcaster, the BBC.

Guilds held economic and political power in Zurich for about 450 years. Their rule came to an end with the arrival of the French under Napoleon in 1798.

swissinfo with agencies

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