In many communities across the canton of Zurich, processions are held on St Martin's Day, 11 November. Children hollow out turnips and carve them into lanterns, later putting candles in them and carrying them through the dark streets to the sound of musical accompaniment. The procession often finishes with a drink or some hot food. The custom is organised by sport and community associations, residents' associations, church groups, schools and kindergartens.
The most significant lantern festival takes place in Richterswil. The event has been run by the local transport association since 1908 and over the years has become a large public festival known across many regions. Thousands of visitors flood to Richterswil in extra trains and boats put on especially for the occasion.
The procession of lanterns is a relatively new custom. Reliable accounts of similar processions in Zurich Oberland date back to the 1920s, when the lanterns were probably carried through the streets individually instead of in an organised procession. It was a rural custom which took place within communities.