Zibelemärit (Bern Onion Market)

Zibelemärit (Bern Onion Market)
The Zibelemärit, also known as the Bern Onion Market, is a unique annual market that takes place in the historical center of Bern, Switzerland. The event is held on the fourth Monday in November. It features more than 700 merchants from all over the country that sell high-quality onions and onion products.

According to a persistent local legend, the Zibelemärit dates back to 1405. That year, a major fire destroyed most of the city's wooden buildings, leaving Bern devastated. In the wake of the disaster, the people of the nearby city of Fribourg aided the Bernese to rebuild the city. As a reward they were granted the right to sell onions in Bern. But a legend is just a legend. Historical research indicates that the Bern Onion Market originated in the mid-19th century, when farmers' wives from the Murten area began to come to Bern around St. Martin's Day (November 11) to sell their produce.

As the name of the market suggests, at the Zibelemärit you can find mainly onions sold by local farmers. During the market, the Old City of Bern is filled with stalls and booths where merchants sell various kinds of onions. Can you imagine a farmers' market that takes place at a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That's exactly what happens in Bern every November!

At the Zibelemärit, you can find decorative onion wreaths and onion tresses, often decorated with flowers. Children are especially fond of funny onion figurines. Food stalls offer a variety of onion dishes, including German onion pie (Zwiebelkuchen), onion soup and even onion sausages.

Although onion is the main product sold at the market, merchants offer a variety of other goods, including ceramics, toys, textiles, and handmade jewelry. There's also entertainment going on during the day, including the massive famous confetti battle (Konfettischlacht) for children and young people. The battle takes place at 4 pm, officially ending the market, but the partying often continues until late at night. By the way, the Zibelemärit officially opens at 6 am, but most merchants arrive and begin to sell their produce much earlier, around 3 or 4 am.


Photo by Joel Bez




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