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A Bunch of Swiss Weather Prophets

Zurich's famous spring festival 'Sechseläuten' is a good example of popular culture and traditions trying to predict the weather. Much like 'Groundhog Day' in the US and Canada where time is measured until the groundhog appears, the people of Zurich measure the time it takes for the head of an artificial snowman called 'Böögg' to explode. The faster it explodes the better the summer - at least according to tradition.

Alternative Methods of Meteorology in Switzerland

This way of "predicting" the weather is just one of many traditional (or alternative) methods of meteorology found in Switzerland. Another good example for this are the 'Innerschwyzer Meterologen' also called 'Muotothaler Wetterschmöcker', a group of weather prophets who try to predict the weather through nature. The term 'Wetterschmöcker' means 'weather taster' and possibly refers to one of the (secret) methods they use to predict the seasons weather.

The most known weather prophet in Switzerland is Martin Horat who has a wider audience mainly through a series of commercials for He eats and tastes snow and looks at anthills to give his half-year forecasts.

'Weather Tasters' at their best

There are currently six weather prophets active in the group and each has his own secret ways of predicting the weather for the next year or season. The weather prophet who comes closest with his semi-annual prediction is crowned 'weather king' and receives an award at the groups meetings.

Using Country Sayings

Another way of "predicting" the weather are country sayings which we Swiss quite adequatly call Bauernregeln (farmer's rules). They have been passed down through generations of farmers and are usually in the form of short rhymes. The usefulness of these rules has not been proven scientifically but many of them still seem quite plausible in the popular ear. Think about this one:

"Erst Mitte Mai ist der Winter vorbei." (Only in the middle of May is Winter over)

I mean, sometimes we are mid April and Winter is still keeping a strong hold on our weather. This is not uncommon, as the tradition of the Ice Saints confirms. Bauernregeln are also a great way to point out certain things in a humorous way as does Diego Balli with his illustrations:

I'm not up to date to what the Bauernregeln and weather prophets predict for this years summer. Let's hope it is a good prediction and pray that it will be a true one!



  1. I can't understand a single word of what the prophet is saying... damn!

    1. Hehe :) He says: "I believe it's gonna be a good winter. How do I know? Come have a look. Do you see these ants here? They are telling me how the winter is gonna be. (Picks up the ant) Crazy! They have thighs like a female ski racer. And what is that? There is a Dutch ant also. And here at the end are some English ones. French. Italian. They are coming to us. They know why. That can only mean one thing: Here in Switzerland there's gonna be a crazy beautiful winter with a lot of snow and sun. Come to us, we don't bite."


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