Räbechilbi in Richterswil (ZH)

Richterswil

Richterswil, Zürichsee

Richterswil, Zürichsee

Second Saturday in November

In the Canton of Zurich, and more recently in other regions of German speaking Switzerland, processions which feature decorated, hollowed out fodder beets containing a lighted candle have become customary.

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This custom can be traced back to the early 1920s. A very special form of this celebration has developed in Richterswil, situated on Lake Zurich. On the second Saturday evening in November, approximately a thousand children and grownups proceed through the darkened streets with individual lanterns or huge structures made up of hundreds of lighted beets portraying houses, people, and objects. The facades of the houses are also decorated with lights.

The procession, which moves along a predetermined route, is led by a group of women dressed in black. They represent "the churchgoers of Richterswilerberg". Tradition says that around 1850 they lit the way to the evening service in the village church with their lighted beets. Though research has shown that this lovely legend may not be true, this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants nor the general harmony of the evening in the least.

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