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Burning of the Snowman

Discussion in 'Storm Pictures' started by grandview, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609


    April 16, 2007 - 8:22 PM Print this story Send this story RSS Feed
    Spring explodes into life in Zurich
    Hot stuff: Zurich's Böögg snowman is said to predict the quality of the coming summer
    Image caption: Hot stuff: Zurich's Böögg snowman is said to predict the quality of the coming summer (Keystone)
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    Zurich has rung in the spring with its traditional Sechseläuten (six bells) festivities, culminating with the symbolic burning of the Böögg snowman.

    It took 12 minutes and nine seconds for the snowman's head – loaded with explosives – to blow up on Monday, forecasting a "moderate" summer.

    According to tradition, the quicker the Böögg explodes, the better summer will be. Over the past ten years, the average time for the Böögg to blow his top has been 14 minutes.

    However, the national weather office MeteoSchweiz poured cold water on the Böögg on Monday, saying its predictions didn't stand up to scientific analysis.

    "Why should a burning cotton snowman possess good qualities for making predictions?" questioned a report by Daniela Schmuki and Andreas Weigel.

    According to MeteoSchweiz it all depends on how the Böögg's pyre is constructed, the dampness of the wood, the weather on the day and above all the number of accelerants used to get the fire going.

    Although the snowman accurately predicted the 2003 summer heat wave – it exploded after a mere 5.7 minutes – on other occasions it has been well off the mark and there is little evidence that the Böögg is sensitive to global warming.

    In 1971 it exploded in just 5.0 minutes – the fastest time since 1965 – but the average temperature over the summer was a middling 16.8 degrees Celsius.

    There have been two occasions since 1965, in 1970 and 1988, that the Böögg has needed more than 40 minutes to go off, theoretically promising a miserable summer. However, both years had average summer temperatures of 16.8 and 16.9 degrees Celsius respectively.
    Execution of winter

    This year the pyre was lit at six o'clock on the dot by Joachim Eder, a member of the cantonal government of Zug, this year's "guest canton".

    Tens of thousands of spectators were on hand to follow the symbolic execution of winter.

    Beforehand, members of Zurich's 26 guilds paraded through the old town in period costume and glorious sunshine.

    Also taking part in the festivities were celebrities from Swiss politics, economics and culture.

    Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and Justice Minister Christoph Blocher joined the parade, as did UBS boss Marcel Ospel, actor Marco Rima, captain of the Swiss national football team Alex Frei and German former footballer Franz "the Kaiser" Beckenbauer.
    Böögg theft

    Although it only predicted a moderate summer, at least the Böögg made it to the pyre this year. In 2006 a group of leftwing militants stole the original giant cotton snowman just before its big day.

    In a midnight raid they smashed a window of the garage where it was stored and left a chocolate Easter bunny and a hammer and sickle emblem in its place.

    The group claiming responsibility for the theft said the 3.5-metre tall snowman "had had enough of putting its head on the line for capitalists".

    The snowman had never been stolen before, although plans had been drawn up to nab him during student unrest in the 1980s. Police were able to avert the theft at the last minute thanks to a tip off. A stand-in Böögg ended up being blown u
  2. Western1

    Western1 Senior Member
    from MI.
    Messages: 668

    Maybe we should start something like that here!ussmileyflagussmileyflag
  3. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,521

    heinz veinsz dreinz cool runnings
  4. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    We have Ground Hogs that are just as "scientifically" accurate as any meteorologist when it comes to long term seasonal predictions. I admit, watching a snowmans head blow up would be much more entertaining than watching a crop wrecker look for its shadow.

  5. 05Duramax073

    05Duramax073 Member
    Messages: 38

    Being a weatherman is the only job if you are wrong 50% of the time, you get to keep your job and might even get a better one.

    FISHERBOY Senior Member
    Messages: 542

    we should do that to people who hate snow
  7. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I hate snow. that's why I get it the he!! outa my way.:drinkup:
  8. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 981

    The weathermen needn't worry about losing their jobs to a burning snowman anytime soon. Don't they realize it's just a tradition that marks the ending of winter and the beginning of a new spring/summer? It's no different than the stupid groundhog. For crying out loud, my 2 week old nephew could predict the weather as accurately as those bums who refer to themselves as meteorologists. What a joke.

    The town is simply enjoying itself with some festivities and the weathermen have to get all defensive.