Berner Zwibeliärit

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Every year on the fourth Monday in November there is a huge farmers market in the city of Berne, Switzerland. People take the trains from all over Switzerland to visit this market in the beautiful alleys of Berne and on the square in front of the government building. So far, I’ve never made it there, although my parents and grandparents always brought back pretty arrangements made out of onions. Yes, onions. That’s what the whole market is about. Onions and a little garlic.This year, I had to see for myself, why these two things are able to attract such a huge crowed despite the harsh winter weather year after year.

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The vendors start setting up their stands in the middle of the night, so that the market can open at 5am. You wouldn’t assume that people would get up at this early hour when it’s cold and dark to go buy onions. But apparently it’s all about this event because people from 18 and upwards were already there when the market opened up. When we got there at 7am the alleys between the booths were so full with people that we had no other choice but to go with the flow.I saw why you had to come before sunrise. The atmosphere was very warm and had a magical Christmas feeling about it with all the lights that were hanging on the stands. After sunrise, this feeling would be lost and be replaced with children (and grown-ups) who were throwing confetti at passersby. So really, if you want to avoid confetti in your underwear, you have to come early. In addition, this gives you a reason to drink Glühwein for breakfast and eat onion pie and candy. Everybody was standing around in groups having a good time in this relaxed mood. This atmosphere alone is worthwhile of going there.Plus, it’s amazing to see, what you can do with onions. It doesn’t get boring to look at all the different stands. And people buy them too. Some booths were completely sold out by 11am. It will be a pity to tear these beautiful braided onion ornaments apart to use them for cooking. Luckily, you can always come back next year 🙂

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I would go again too if work ever permits it. The ornaments are pretty and make good presents and the atmosphere opens the season of all the cute Christmas Markets we have in Europe in December.

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