Happy and colorful spring traditions

In Zurich, people burn a snowman in spring; elsewhere, people smear their skin with colorful powders or burn socks. We all rejoice at the end of winter.
Holi - an enchanting spring spectacle
In India, when the Holi Festival takes place, spring has arrived! People in India are just as pleased to see the back of winter as we are, and celebrate the arrival of spring in joyful, boisterous style, smearing their skin with colorful powders and generally having a good time.

During the festival large bonfires are lit to burn a straw effigy known as Holika. The effigy symbolizes a demoness who, according to legend, sat in a burning fire with the King’s son in her lap, intending to kill the child. But the Hindu god Vishnu intervened to protect the child whilst Holika burned to death in the flames.
The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil (and spring over winter).

This joyful festival of colors is now celebrated in many countries around the world, and also in Europe – although here it is more of a party style event.
Burning socks, an original spring custom
In Zurich, people say «goodbye» to winter by burning a Böögg. In Eastport (Maryland), boat owners burn their socks at the beginning of spring.
For the record: in the mid-1970s, sailor Bob Turner decided to burn his socks on the first day of spring to walk barefoot on his boat again. This ritual was repeated every year. Later, he also invited his collaborators and friends to join him in this symbolic act.

This custom quickly spread until it became a real feast: with oysters, beer, a live band and, of course, heaps of socks on a fire.
At the Sechseläuten the citizens of Zurich burn the winter
This Zurich festival dates back to the 16th century. At that time, the council decided that during the summer, the end of the working day should be set one hour later, i.e. at six o'clock in the evening.

As a sign of the beginning of spring, the second largest bell of the Grossmünster rang punctually at six o'clock on the first Monday after the equinox.
This is how the «Sächsilüüte» (literally the six o'clock ringing) began, which was later fixed for the third Monday in April. In 1902 the Böögg was added, a snowman prepared with explosives, which is burned on the Sechseläutenplatz as a highlight of the Zurich spring festival. It symbolizes winter.

And they say that the faster the Böögg's head explodes, the more beautiful summer will be. Well, this year, however, it remains a secret. Because of the pandemic, the Sechseläuten will not take place and we are left only with the hope of a wonderfully warm summer.

Our nicest spring gifts

Show all

More exciting topics about spring