Weather sayings are probably as old as time. In Switzerland however, the Sechseläuten puts all other semi-scientific weather forecasts to shame: An exploding head is used to predict summer. (Ok, this might be slightly overdramatized, but it is still pretty thrilling.)
Every third Monday in April, a big snowman ragdoll, called the Böögg, is filled with explosives and burned at the stake in downtown Zurich. The snowman represents winter and the time it takes from the lighting of the pyre until the explosion of the Böögg’s head will be an indication of the coming summer. The quicker the head explodes, the warmer and sunnier summer will be.
Take that, weather stations, radars, and satellites!
Sechseläuten is such a simple yet spectacular event. One cannot help but wonder if one could organize a little Sechseläuten in one's own garden, the fire pit or the balcony. One can. All of us can now become summer weather experts in our own backyards – thanks to Pocket Böögg!
That's right, Pocket Böögg!
Pocket Böögg is one of the cutest DIY sets you will ever see – a true masterpiece of craftsmanship. The project is a collaboration between the Zurich University of the Arts and the Werkstätte Rauti, a sheltered workshop in the Zurich area. Everything from the box to the stickers for the Pocket Böögg's face is beautifully designed and made with much love - it is really hard to just set it on fire.
But I did. And I had a blast! (No pun intended.)
(At this point, I would like to give a big shout-out to my DIY Sechseläuten buddy Reto E. who was directing and filming the adventure. We did not make the graffiti in the background ourselves, but we did not mind how perfectly the color schemes matched.)
Newly Swissed Meets Pocket Böögg
Celebrating your own Sechseläuten is pretty simple: After you finally convince yourself to burning the beautiful contents of the beautiful box, you simply put all the pieces together and stick the lady crackers in the Pocket Böögg’s head.
Then, simply set the whole thing on fire! As you can see in the video, we had to deal with some wind, so we eventually used a kitchen torch to make sure the spectacle goes down as planned.
At our DIY Sechseläuten, it took about five minutes for the Pocket Böögg's head to explode. This means that summer 2014 will be - drum rolls, please - pretty good! There should neither be too much rain nor too many clouds. So according to our forecast, it is safe to stock up on ice cream, get the flip-flops out, and the bathing suit ready...
Do you want to predict the weather yourself?
Everything you need for your own DIY Sechseläuten is just a few clicks away: The Pocket Bööggen are available year round and come in two different sizes. Unfortunately, the website is only in German but the ordering process should be pretty self-explanatory.
If you are wondering about the music that you probably won’t get out of your head for a few more hours: It is the Sechseläutenmarsch, the official anthem of the event. You can conveniently download it on the Pocket Böögg website as well.