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Onion Market and Festival - Zibelemärit, Bern

Yearly event. Every fourth Monday in November.

Onion market or Zibelemärit in Bern
Photo credit: Yves Maurer

The Onion Market, or Zibelemärit, is a favourite market with festival character amongst the Swiss, and a "must do" at least once in their lifetime. They arrive from every corner of the country by the bus load and on extra trains to enjoy a day in the Swiss Capital.

As you can guess, the Zibelemärit celebrates all things onion - and garlic. So don't expect smells of roses and lavender :-) Artful wreaths, woven into braids, sometimes mixed with garlic to chase away Evil spirits and all kinds of figures made of onion are there for the taking. Sugar onion wreaths are wrapped around the neck like Hawaiian Leis.

Although onions are the queens of Bern's largest farmers market, the event merged with the "Chachelimärit" - a specialty market for local potters. Also, you find traditional market goods from winter vegetables to fruits, nuts, cheese, and all kinds of entertainment.

Food specialties, such as "Zibelechueche" (Onion tart) und "Käsewehe" (Cheese quiche), onion soups, onion sausages and Glühlwein (mulled hot wine) are amongst the delicacies served in all the restaurants and food stalls. Züpfe (braided milk bread), a specialty from the nearby region of Emmental but served all over Switzerland, especially for breakfast on Sunday's, will help ease the early morning blues.

The Onion Market starts early - 5am and lasts to 4pm, but visitors show up as early as 4am and stay all night; there are several party events scheduled for night owls. It's November, so it can be coolish - dress in layers.

Oh, and don't open your mouth too wide or you could end up swallowing a handful of confetti thrown at you by a mischievous child. The confetti battle goes on all day but it culminates into a wild throwing contest at the end of the market day.

When: The Zibelemärit always takes place on the fourth Monday in November.
Official start at 5:00 am.

Where: Bern - Old town, main hub at the square in front of the Federal building (Bundeshausplatz), the Bären- and and Waisenhausplatz.

How to get there: Special trains are scheduled all day from and to practically anywhere. It is the easiest way to reach Bern. The train station is smack dab in the centre of the city and as soon as you leave the station direction Spitalgasse you arrive at the Onion Market in just a few minutes.

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