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Swiss snowman's head takes 20 minutes to explode…and predicts poor summer

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The Swiss version of Groundhog Day – Zurich's Böögg burns. File photo: AFP
08:34 CEST+02:00
Bad news people: Switzerland is set for a rubbish summer, at least according to one Zurich tradition.

On Monday, Zurich’s huge Sechseläuten festival came to its traditional fiery and noisy end with the burning of the Böögg, a massive snowman packed with explosives whose destruction marks the symbolic end of the winter.

Read also: Why people in Zurich burn a snowman every April

Tradition has it that the length of time it takes for the Böögg’s head to explode predicts the weather for the summer ahead.

And with a full 20 minutes and 31 needed until the Böögg’s head exploded yesterday, initial indications are that we shouldn’t get our hopes up.

Last year, by contrast, the snowman’s head was history in just 9 minutes and 56 seconds. What happened next? Summer 2017 was the third warmest since records began back in 1864.

In 2003, the Böögg, which even has its own Twitter account, exploded in a very-brief five minutes and 42 seconds, ushering in the famous ‘once-in-a-century’ summer of that year.

But it should be noted the Böögg has a generally poor record when it coming to predicting the weather.

In 2016, for example, the burning of the famous snowman took a full 43 minutes and 34 seconds to explode, which is the longest time on record. But the following summer was relatively hot and rain-free.

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