“Knabenschiessen” – a Tradition in Zurich
September 11, 2023
“Knabenschiessen” often causes some confusion among the uninformed. For this popular public festival does not entail shooting boys. Quite the contrary: at this rifle shooting competition, local boys – and for number of years now, girls too – have the opportunity to test and demonstrate their shooting skills. This tradition harks back to the 17th century. It was first mentioned in a document in 1656, when around 150 boys took part in a shooting competition known as “Knaben Schiesset”.
The modern-day, annual “Knabenschiessen” exists in its present form since 1899 and is organized by the City of Zurich Rifle Association in Albisgütli. Since then, the festival has been held in conjunction with Zurich’s largest annual public festival, and from Saturday to Monday attracts countless visitors with its varied culinary delights and many market stands and amusement rides.
Since the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation in 1991, girls have also been allowed to participate in this competition. However, the rule that only boys and girls resident in the city and canton of Zurich are allowed to shoot is still upheld to this day. The festival, on the other hand, is naturally open to all visitors from near and far.