Bern’s Onion Festival

Every 4th Monday of November, Bern hosts their annual “Zibelemärit” (Onion Festival) from around 4am to 4pm. There’s onion pie, garlic bread, onion and garlic garlands and wreaths, onion art, and more.

Onion Nurses!

Also, this appears to be a favorite holiday for obnoxious teenagers, as throughout the day, it’s not only allowed, but encouraged to throw confetti. It’s certainly a unique experience to witness the (otherwise) pristine Swiss streets drenched with confetti.  Tip: keep your mouth closed! And watch out for teens with plastic hammers! This one rather annoying teenager hit me repeatedly with his hammer until it broke on him.

Confetti Attack

I was in a friendly mood, so let them do this to me

Now it was a beautiful (yet cold!) day when I went to check out the festival. I went in the afternoon, catching the tail end of things. I’d say 2 hours is plenty of time to check out the festival. Then, I went to catch a train back to Zurich. What happened next is simply unheard of in Switzerland. The trains were completely stopped! Nothing was going because there was an electrical fire and power outage at the Bern station, due to a second-hand clothing fire on a train. I kid you not. So, my friends and I decided to head for dinner because it was estimated the delays would last for a couple of hours. Rightly enough, a couple hours later the trains were functioning again and we were able to hop a train (15 minutes past the departure time) home. All of these delays and cancellations are just unheard of in Switzerland! I was amazed at the trains not running for nearly 2 hours in rush hour traffic time on a festival day, no less!

Train board showing the ridiculous delay times – plus confetti everywhere



One Response to “Bern’s Onion Festival”

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