Sechseläuten usually takes place on the third Monday of April. However, if Easter gets in the way, or other things happen, it can be on a different Monday. For the city of Zürich, this can be either a full or half-day holiday, and many stores downtown are closed.
The parade of the Guilds starts at 15.00. Each Guild marches with their banner, in their uniforms and costumes. Many have horses and bands. Music from the bands ranges from what I assume are Swiss songs (since I didn’t know them) to American standards, including New York, New York and Hawaii 5-O.
You can rent a seat on a bench which can be an excellent idea since three hours is a really long time to stand. Yes, glampers, the parade is a long one.
Spectators carry baskets of flowers, and when they see someone they know in the parade, they run right into the middle of the procession, hand a flower or a bouquet to their friend, give the old Swiss kiss and a hug, exchange a pleasantry or two, then scurry back to their seats before the horses or the band run them over.
The theme of this year’s celebration was Züri Mitenand (Zürich everyone). In Switzerland when you greet someone who is alone, you say Grüezi. If there are several people or more, you say Grüezi Mitenand.
On the way to the parade I watched three zookeepers walk their camels past my tram stop. The zoo is just up the hill from our flat, and maybe it was easier to walk those guys down the hill than to load them in a carrier. Sure enough, when the Camel Guild paraded by, the camels were in the thick of it. The Zunft zum Kämbel were originally the food and wine merchants. Today they dress up as Bedouins.
People in the parade were carrying large steins of wine, bottles of wine, pushing wine casks and consuming said wine as they marched. People wandering through town were drinking canned Feldschlossen (the local beer), so I gather it is legal to consume out in the open.
Some people were wearing a baked good on a string around their neck – a pretzel or other-shaped breaded yummy, even some spectators.
So many sights to see.
Tomorrow: The Burning of the Böögg