Monday, September 11, 2006

Swiss Holiday: Boy's Shooting Match

Today is the Boy's Shooting Match - an official holiday in Zurich.

Military training for Swiss youth can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Shooting practise for Zurich youths was first described in 1576 but the actual Knabenschiessen competition was first documented in the second half of the 17th century. As Zurich traditions go, the Knabenschiessen for 12–16 year-old boys on the second weekend in September is second only to the spring Sechseläuten, which bids farewell to winter. However the shooting match has only existed in its present form since 1899. Thousands of boys - and recently girls - take part in the competition for youngsters at Albisgüetli. Each competitor has five shots and the winner receives great honours with his/her picture appearing in every Zurich newspaper.

The «Shooting King» receives an old Zurich coin on three silver chains and may choose an award from the prize table. In addition, as a guest of the Baker’s Guild, the winner is invited to the Sechseläuten banquet, attended by representatives of the Government, high-ranking Swiss Army officials and members of Zurich’s Guilds.

Holiday details pulled directly from

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