16 April 2007

Ritual Sacrifice in Zürich

Today was the day. The biggest annual event in Zürich. The Ritual Sacrifice of the Böögg, an enormous snowman made of straw and cotton who is packed with explosives and set on a large bonfire.



It began with the parade of the 26 Guilds of Zürich. I simply give you the pictures because my knowledge of Swiss culture generally, and Zürich culture specifically, is too limited to explain what is happening.


























The parade ended in Sechseläutenplatz and all of the spectators gathered to witness the Death of the Böögg.


We slowly worked our way through the massive crowd, craning our necks for a glimpse of the Böögg. We heard the church bells ring 6 o'clock and a shout rose up from the crowd. As we could see nothing but the backs of heads, we could only assume that the bonfire had been lit.



Soon a thick smoke filled the sky.

And still we worked through the crowd until, at last, we had our first glimpse of the giant snowman. Flames were already creeping up around him.



Soon he was completely engulfed and a series of rapid explosions began.



Until finally one enormous explosion ripped through the air...




The head came off and the Böögg was no more...




By my watch, the head came off at approximately 12 past the hour. This was confirmed by SwissInfo.org, which stated the time was 12 minutes and 9 seconds.



Apparently we are in for a moderately hot summer.



That is if you believe that an enormous snowman can predict the weather based upon how long he takes to die.

8 comments:

Samantha said...

That is so weird...but thanks for sharing the pics!!

Pointless Drivel said...

That's what America needs. Festivals that end with the burning in effigy -- and later explosion -- of giant snowmen, the timing of which coincides with the predicted weather for the next several months.

Sure puts that damn groundhog to shame.

And, no, I'm not suggesting someone explode the groundhog. That's just mean.

Un-Swiss Miss said...

A camel? Since when have camels been part of medieval Swiss life?

Cool photos. Bummer about summer, though. I have no air conditioning!

Andreas said...

Ah, the camel... glad you asked.

There's a Guild called "Zur Kämbel", that unified gardeners/produce sellers, oil pressers, salt merchants and small store owners. One of the guildhouses in their long history (14th century) was the Camel Inn (Haus zum Kam(b)el), whence their name and the camel and the odd costumes... may also refer to the spice traders, though.

BTW, that beheaded guy on the horse refers to either St. Felix or St. Regula, patron saints of Zurich. They were beheaded in the early Dark Ages and legend has it they picked up their heads and walked from the Münster across the bridge to the Fraumünster church...

Andreas said...

Correction on Felix and Regula: late Roman, not early Darkies...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_and_Regula

Global Librarian said...

I did wonder about all the Bedouins. But I was moref ocused on the dark stain placed on their faces.

We wondered what would happen if people tried doing that int he United States. The reaction would not be good!

Kirk said...

I think Böögg may be my favorite Swiss German word in the whole wide world (not that it's a long list to choose from)...

Peter said...

Did you know that "Böögg" also means "booger" or "bogey" in some swiss-german dialects?