Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sechseläuten Umzug (Parade) Zürich 2009

Sechseläuten Zürich Sign
As promised, a few extra shots of the Sechseläuten Umzug (parade) from Monday. As I mentioned before, the parade is all about the guilds... well actually the whole event is. Allow me to paraphrase from wikipedia. Back in the medieval days, the guilds were really tough about their working hours. In winter they worked until it was dark and then stopped, but when it came to Spring, when daylight is getting longer, they changed the working hours such that everyone punched out at 6pm. So everyone rejoiced for Spring because it meant they got a bit of daylight when they came home and the bells rang at 6 o'click to let you know it's time to go home. On Sechseläuten fest day, the bells ring for the first time, celebrating the change to the Spring hours (Sechseläuten literally means six o'clock bells you know) and they had a big party and parade to the square to celebrate the end of winter and blow up a snowman effigy- hence the tradition. (Was that spot on? If not read it yourself here...)

The guilds still celebrate wearing their tradtional garb. There is even a guide to follow along so you know what each guild represents - butcher, baker, candle stick maker - literally. And they all have flowers to give out to people and boy do their receive. The difference between the beginning of the parade, this:
and the end of the parade... this:

... is huge. One guy behind me at the parade said it well, 'Yeah, when it comes to flowers, this is bigger than Valentine's Day!'

It is like these guys are celebrity for a day. It certainly is interesting though to see all the flowers and costumes.

And by the way, the guild members these days are not exactly of the profession that the guild originally was. That is no longer followed, I understand. But they keep the traditional costumes nonetheless.

This above was a baker's guild and they handed out rolls and pretzels!

Next to the costumes and flowers, the big attraction was the horses. My were there some fine horses on show at the parade.
The only downside was that after awhile it no longer smelled of flowers, but of horse... if you know what I mean. You had to watch out for it EVERYWHERE!

Kids also paraded. It was cute. The kiddie parade is actually on Sunday though if you want to see the next generation up close.

The only unfortunate thing about the parade and the event, and I am not normally feminist, is that there were hardly any women. Unless you were carrying flowers for the men or had a herd of dogs, like this one below, you were not in the parade if you were a woman. Yes, it is tradition, I know. But come on... where are the women members? I was told by someone at work, too, that the women can walk the same parade route and participate but they have to do it an hour before... yeah.

Regardless, this was an awesome event. Make sure you go next year if you missed it, or check out the video! Enjoy!

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Amanda said...

What lovely photos. I would have to say that parade looks like an event not to be missed! Since we don't live in Zürich, we're going to have to take the day off next year so we can attend...

Chantal said...

The women have been trying to gain participation rights for 20 years now. I was fortunate enough to attend their guild party and hear first hand how hard the struggle is for them to change tradition. It's really amazing how tradition trumps equality...

Parsifal362 said...

Sehr nette Fotos, bin gerade selber nach Zürich
mit der Firma umgezogen (eine andere Art des Umzuges :-), werde da mal Ausschau halten nach der Parade 2016,
die ist dann wohl wieder nächsten Sommer? Alles Liebe Euch, geniesst die sonnigen Herbsttage!


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