The great Swiss turnip fest
Richterswil is surely one of few places on Earth to host an annual festival-cum-art-exhibition dedicated to the humble turnip.
Despite the nutritional value of turnips, the pale root vegetables rarely get a star turn on dinner plates, let alone at public gatherings.
But the good folk of Richterswil, on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, are certainly doing their bit to elevate them to superfood status.
On the second Saturday in November, townsfolk set about transforming the usually nondescript vegetables into intricately carved lanterns and sculptures.
Some stick to simple faces not dissimilar to Halloween pumpkins, while others go all out, fashioning people, animals, houses, flowers, and even entire towns from turnips. Audrey Hepburn, who lived in Switzerland, featured in the 2014 show.
An outdoor concert is held in the vegetable’s honour, but the highlight of the Rabechilbi Festival is undoubtedly the evening procession of candlelit floats featuring – you guessed it – turnips.
The procession is led by a group of women in black said to represent mid-19th century churchgoers who led townsfolk to evening services with illuminated beets.
Switzerland Tourism says that while ‘‘research has shown this lovely legend may not be true, this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants or the general harmony of the evening’’.