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Zurich banishes the winter with traditional bonfire

Zurich has celebrated the end of winter with the city's traditional Sechseläuten festival. The city guilds' traditional afternoon parade was followed by fireworks and a huge bonfire with the burning of the Böögg (pictured) at the stroke of six.

Zürich has celebrated the end of winter with the city's traditional Sechseläuten festival. The city guilds' traditional afternoon parade was followed by fireworks and a huge bonfire with the burning of the Böög (pictured) at the stroke of six.

Winter is officially over with the burning of the Böögg, a three metre high snowman stuffed with fireworks that symbolises the cold, dark days behind us.

Zürich closed down for the afternoon as half a million people took to the streets for the annual Sechseläuten parade which dates from the fourteenth century.

The men of the city's 26 guilds rode the streets on horseback or on foot decked out in their traditional costumes, some of from the fourteenth century. Marching behind their traditional guild banners, Zurich's streets were alive with the beat of drums and the sound of pipes.

At six the all important burning of the snowman on Sechseläutenwiese took place near Bellevue square. The guild knights galloped around the bonfire three times as the snowman exploded and winter was burnt away. The celebrations then continued with great feasts in Zürich's beautiful guild houses along the Limmat river.

by Michael Hollingdale


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