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The Snowman

Snowman Burning Day, Germany ​

Snowman Burning Day

Apr 14

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"🎶 You shake my nerves and you brainfreeze my brain
Too much love drives a snowman insane
You froze my will
But what a thrill
Goodness, gracious, great snowballs of fire!"

~ Jerry Freeze Lewis, "Great Snowballs of Fire", 1957

Still snowing in your part of of the world? Warm things up with a Snowman Burning to hasten spring! Celebrated on various dates in different countries, Snowman Burning Day, known by the Swiss as Sechseläuten, involves creating a giant snowman effigy known as a "Böögg" (related to the English word "bogeyman"). The "Böögg" is set alight at precisely 6 pm, and it is said that the faster the fire reaches the snowman's exploding head (packed with firecrackers), the finer the summer will be. Festivities involve grilling sausages over the burning embers and celebrating late into the night with music and dancing! For a smaller event at your own home, a marshmallow snowman will do nicely! This reel's Pilling diagram contains all essential snowman like shapes, Rights and Lefts for arms, a reel for the three snowballs, and a circle for dancing round, fiery or not! Farewell to the frost! 🔥 ❄️ ☃️ ❄️ 🔥

The Snowman

With variants celebrated throughout Switzerland, Germany, and the United States on different dates, this festival in all its incarnations celebrates the arrival of spring after a long winter. 

The idea of burning a snowman to celebrate the start of spring may have origins in the Rose Sunday Festival in Weinheim-an-der-Bergstrasse, Germany, during which the mayor of each town burns a straw snowman (but only if the children have behaved themselves throughout the year).

The Six Bells ceremony, Sechseläuten, a traditional spring holiday in the Swiss city of Zürich, includes the burning of Winter in effigy, in the form of the Böögg, a snowman figure prepared with explosives! 

People in Zurich say, "the faster the head explodes, the warmer or better summer will be."

The Sechseläuten festival in its current form dates back to 1867.

It derives its name from the fact that at the spring equinox the bells of Zurich's main cathedral would toll vespers again at six o'clock to announce the end of the working day.

In winter time the working day lasted only until five o'clock due to early dusk.


Gaylord, Michigan, which adopted this tradition now part of their Alpenfest celebration, usually held in March, make their snowmen from cotton wool, and instead celebrating only the transition of seasons, people write their worries and problems down on a piece of paper which they place inside the snowman.  The snowman is lit on fire, and it is hoped, all worries and problems disappear with the snowman.

For more on the traditional snowman burning in Switzerland, click the vintage snowman and kilted children by artist M. Russon from the Birmingham School of Design in the World Dolls Series, 1960s.

The Snowman

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Snowman

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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