Long before there was Burning Man, there was the Burning of the Böögg .
The Swiss tradition, with roots dating to the Middle Ages and beyond, ushers out old man winter and welcomes spring.
Once a marker of the vernal equinox, the Burning of the Boogg is part of the celebration known as Sechseläuten : a Swiss German word that literally translates into “The six o’clock ringing of the bells”. Changing to summer working hours traditionally was a joyous occasion because it marked the beginning of the season where people had some non-working daylight hours. Think of it as a daylight savings time of sorts.
Nowadays, it is tradition to ask the Böögg to forecast the weather for the coming summer. During the Sechseläuten ceremony, the pyre with the Böögg on top is set alight at 6.00pm on the dot. It is said that the faster the fire reaches the snowman figure and his head explodes, the finer the summer will be.
This year’s Burning of the Böögg is set to take place again at Helvetia Winery and Vineyards on April 3rd, and is sponsored by the , which was originally the homestead of the Yungen family from Switzerland. Bring your kids and expose them to this Swiss tradition, which includes food, music and the Burning of the Böögg .
Below is a video excerpt from 2012’s Burning of the Boogg celebration.