Zurich guild votes 'no' to women in spring parade
A traditional men's guild in Zurich has rekindled a 22-year-old battle after it voted against female participation in the city's traditional spring parade.
Wearing medieval costumes, the Fraumünster women’s society proudly marched alongside men for the first time in the main Sechseläuten parade through the city centre in May 2011.
On its website, the women’s society thanked the guild masters for inviting them to Sechseläuten 2011 and said they “look forward to the forthcoming combined Sechseläuten in 2012“.
However, the men's guild association has now voted against women's participation becoming a regular occurrence, saying it only allowed them to join in 2011 because of “the cultural and charitable engagement of the women’s guild“, DRS television station reported.
The necessary two-thirds majority which would have guaranteed the Fraumünster society a regular “right to hospitality“ was not reached, according to a statement from the men's guild association
Traditionally, only men march in the Zurich Sechseläuten parade with the exception of honorary female guests. In the past, women have taken part in the “Kinderumzug“ (children’s parade) on the Sunday preceding Sechseläuten.
The men's guild also said that their female counterparts may in future use another route or pass through the inner city half an hour before the official parade, like they did before.
Sechseläuten, or Sächsilüüte in Zurich dialect, refers to the ringing of the bells at six o’ clock to celebrate the changeover to summer working hours.
It is a traditional end-of-winter celebration that has taken place in the city since 1902, although its roots go back much further. After the parade, a huge “snowman“ effigy called the Böögg or bogeyman, is packed with explosives and burned while the guildmen ride around the bonfire on horseback.
The Fraumünster Society, whose name comes from the Fraumünster abbey founded in 853 and the Zurich cathedral of the same name, was established in 1989 as a non-denominational group with the goal of organising cultural and social events and honouring Zurich women for their work.
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