Monday, April 11, 2011


What? Well, it's the annual Spring Festival in Zurich, Switzerland...and a major holiday here. They shut down the city for a day to celebrate the end of winter and look forward to (hopefully) a long summer. I have never seen anything like today, and it was fun.

(Btw, I know I've been promising Part II of my volcanic ash story.  But this was just way too cool to ignore.)

In the morning, most of the city was asleep, no doubt because today was a holiday and they stayed out late and then slept in. As the afternoon progressed, the anticipation was building, until finally one of the most grand parades I've ever seen commenced:

The parade was almost two hours of... and women in costume...

...who were greeted by loved ones with kisses and flowers... on horses...

...and horse-drawn floats with colorful characters...

Finally, the day ended at 6 pm with the main event. Every year they build the image of a snowman and place it at the top of a huge pile of kindling and wood.

And with a huge bonfire, they burn up the snowman. Like so...

And thus they celebrate the end of winter. Almost the whole city, (at least) tens of thousands of people, gathered for the annual event. They say that the speed with which the snowman is consumed tells them how long summer will be. (Kinda the opposite of Groundhog Day, eh?) Today, it was nine minutes.

It was quite spectacular and something I'll never forget. It was awesome to see that other people in other lands celebrate things I never knew about. Kinda puts our little corner of the world in perspective.

Oh...I leave you with my favorite parade float of the day:
Roll tide.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving how they celebrate the end of winter!! How fun, especially since I am not a fan of cold weather, I would love to see the snow man burn :)