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Old 26.08.2006, 18:20
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Why do the bell towers ring?

Before anyone asks, yes I know why they ring on the hour and quarter hours

I happen to live smack between two church tower and get to hear their lovely rings many times a day and sometimes for a full 15 minutes at a time.

What I want to know is why do they ring at 7pm on Saturdays (or is it 7pm everyday)? Also, when do the bells generally ring on Sunday? Is there a time when church bells are supposed to ring on Sunday? I'm guessing it's for religious reasons but it would be great to hear the story behind them.

I would just really like to hear from someone who has been here longer than me and knows more about the why and when of church bell towers. Any takers?
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Old 26.08.2006, 19:34
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Joshua, do you have any idea if the churches are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran?

For the Roman Catholics, the church bells are supposed to ring during the Consacration (i.e. when the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ)... The full span ring indicates the end of the most important services. I have no idea how Masses go in Switzerland, but in countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy they are held Saturday late afternoon and and Sunday noon.

However, if you listen to the bells every day at 7pm, and it is something like a 3x3 ring, then maybe it is the Angelus. The Angelus is a daily prayer that starts with "Angelus Domini Nuntiavit Maria....", if i remember correctly. You are supposed to answer with the Hail Mary. In previous times, it was a curfew bell as well. (When i went to school, it also meant that you could go home after the 3 Hail Mary's, which was always a good thing....)
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Old 27.08.2006, 07:11
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

We have the same problem.

My theory is it's how Swiss individuals (I know, an oxymoron... ) rebel against the rules, especially the noise rules... by hiding behind the fact that no-one will mess with the church. (And if I never post again, you know the Opus Dei has been calling).

I have to say though, the bells are handy for masking the noise of recycling glass on a Sunday...
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Old 27.08.2006, 08:33
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

I was going to ask this question also, we also live between two bell towers, unfortunately one of them is right next door to us!! they always ring for 15mins at 11am on weekdays and 15mins at 7pm on weekdays, those are the times I have remembered, they also ring other times during the weekdays for 15mins, and annoyingly they ring earlier on Saturdays and Sundays, I actually do my illegal hoovering in the 15mins it rings on Sundays

We've sort of got used to the bells, but when visitors come it drives them mad

Last edited by Nickers; 27.08.2006 at 09:08.
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Old 27.08.2006, 08:59
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

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I actually do my illegal hoovering in the 15mins it rings on Sundays
he he he
So do we. Good on us!
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Old 27.08.2006, 10:15
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

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I actually do my illegal hoovering in the 15mins it rings on Sundays
Illegal hoovering? What's up with that then?
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Old 27.08.2006, 12:47
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Not sure if it's the same in the churches there, but in the UK the CofE churches ring what's called a full "peal" at certain times/days. There are also partial "peals". These are certain bell patterns rung to celebrate certain occasions - the appointment of a bishop, weddings, etc. We are near two churches and hear bells all the time. We also hear "bell ringing practice" on Tuesday nights that lasts for an hour or so.
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Old 27.08.2006, 12:58
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
Not sure if it's the same in the churches there, but in the UK the CofE churches ring what's called a full "peal" at certain times/days. There are also partial "peals". These are certain bell patterns rung to celebrate certain occasions - the appointment of a bishop, weddings, etc. We are near two churches and hear bells all the time. We also hear "bell ringing practice" on Tuesday nights that lasts for an hour or so.
Luckily for you though I bet the bell ringing you hear is tuneful unlike the bell ringing here, or at least the bell ringing in the church near next to where I live, it has no tune whatsoever, just a monotonous one tone ding for 15 minutes. The church bell ringing in the UK is positively pleasant and not usually as loud - but hey i chose to move into an apartment right next door to a bell tower so i have to put up with it
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Old 27.08.2006, 13:00
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Our friend's flat in Bern is just down the street from two churches. I can honestly say I didn't really notice much difference between the bells there and in the UK. Having moved from Texas where we heard train whistles all the time, I'll take bells (even monotonous ones) any day.
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Old 27.08.2006, 13:02
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
Our friend's flat in Bern is just down the street from two churches. I can honestly say I didn't really notice much difference between the bells there and in the UK. Having moved from Texas where we heard train whistles all the time, I'll take bells (even monotonous ones) any day.
Oh I hear train whistles also as I live right next to a train station chose a great place to live, all the noise I could possibly ask for!!
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Old 27.08.2006, 13:09
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

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Illegal hoovering? What's up with that then?
You're not really supposed to do anything on a Sunday that makes noise or creates a disruption - unless of course you're a church in which case you can ring your damn bells as much as you like

I don't know if it's legally enforceable or just an old convention though. Certainly, if you've got any older Swiss living in your apartment block you can expect a knock on the door pretty sharpish if you get out the old vacuum cleaner on a Sunday to clean the place up.


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Old 27.08.2006, 13:16
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
Our friend's flat in Bern is just down the street from two churches. I can honestly say I didn't really notice much difference between the bells there and in the UK. Having moved from Texas where we heard train whistles all the time, I'll take bells (even monotonous ones) any day.
I've got a church near me - dings every quarter of an hour (up to four times to denote the quarter) and then dongs on the hour (number of hours). This goes on all night, not just in the day.

It's not too bad in the winter when the windows are closed but on a still summer night with the windows open, the continuous clatter of the bells makes it really hard to get a good night's sleep. Every time there's a thunderstorm I'm hoping lightening is going to strike the belltower.

Just who the hell needs to know that it's 3.00am - and if they did need to know, wouldn't they have a watch these days? It's amazing to me that if you so much as have a shower after 10.00am you could have the local neighbourhood Hitler on your back for making noise, yet the churches can pump out noise 24x7. There should definitely be some restriction during the night hours but I can't see anyone going up against 'tradition'.

Personally, I think that if the bells are going to be rung in the night, they should be rung manually and not by some timer. That might make the churches think twice about ringing them at all hours.



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Old 27.08.2006, 13:18
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

I absolutely love-

- Church bells (strange as I am an atheist).
- Aeroplane noise (I love planes landing and taking off)

Nicky I am sure I would love train noise as well :-) I am just a sucker for machine noises.

joshuakaufman being sandwiched between two bell towers migh test my patience though
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Old 27.08.2006, 13:24
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
I've got a church near me - dings every quarter of an hour (up to four times to denote the quarter) and then dongs on the hour (number of hours). This goes on all night, not just in the day.
Luckily the church next to me stops ringing the bells at 11.30 i think and starts at 6.45, its the 15mins of constant din on saturday and sunday mornings that get me!!! grrrrrr

I am wondering also if the Swiss have a secret 'rainy day DIY day' as today strangely there seems to be a lot of DIY going on in the apartments below me
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Old 27.08.2006, 13:27
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
Luckily the church next to me stops ringing the bells at 11.30 i think and starts at 6.45, its the 15mins of constant din on saturday and sunday mornings that get me!!! grrrrrr

I am wondering also if the Swiss have a secret 'rainy day DIY day' as today strangely there seems to be a lot of DIY going on in the apartments below me
Call the police at once!

Gav
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Old 27.08.2006, 17:52
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Quote:
Personally, I think that if the bells are going to be rung in the night, they should be rung manually and not by some timer. That might make the churches think twice about ringing them at all hours.
This thread is so funny. When I lived in Syria, I was really put out by the 'Allah Akhbar' calls early each morning from the Muezzin. I wondered what such atonal singing could mean. Asking an Imam once, I was told it's a song of praise extolling the virtue of getting up to pray rather than sleep. I was then told that the call to prayer was on a cassette player, as it gave the Imam an extra 15 minutes in the morning to get himself prepared! Rotter! His convenience, my inconvenience.

The same is true here. A friend here complained at a Gemeinde meeting about the bells, and was shouted down by an old lady that the bells inform her when to do certain tasks in the household. 7am meant hang the duvet out of the window; 8am meant watering the geraniums... he gave up. He said he couldn't argue where there was no reason!

Maybe those sympathertic to the anti-bell movement could subvert the system as was planned several years ago in a British population census: claim to be Jedi. With the next census 10 years later, the Govt. are obliged to offer the option of marking Jedi in the religious affiliation section. Should enough people do this, the Govt. would be obliged to fund Jedi schools and community centres. That'd show 'em... maybe not, but it's be funny
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Old 27.08.2006, 18:00
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Church across the road from me just did their usual 6:50pm on a Sunday dinging for 6 minutes. They also do this at 8:50am on weekdays for the 6 minutes, and several times on Saturdays and Sundays.

The clock chiming starts at 6am here, seems to end around 9pm.

I really wish they wouldn't.
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Old 27.08.2006, 18:09
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Never mind the church bells, what about the cow bells, behind my house is a field of sorts which seems to be open for grazing. Yesterday there was even a donkey with a bloody bell round its neck. Unlike the church they don’t have schedules they just clang away all day …. Ah the bells, the bells drives me nuts.


P.S Why do cows have bells? - because their horns don’t work!
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Old 27.08.2006, 18:14
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

Just to let you know that it isn't just foreigners that are driven nuts by the bells here's a site of some people fighting it:

http://www.nachtruhe.info/

The site is in German, and isn't particulaly good - but at least people are trying. I remember reading an article a long time ago about this struggle. The church bells are managed by the community (in other words they have the power to stop them), but the federal court made a ruling that should people within a certain distance complain, the communities are obliged to act and stop the bells during the night. They court upheld that the concept of "Nachtruhe" (silence during the night) is a long standing tradition in Switzerland that take precedence of any tradition of bell-ringing. The communities tried to fight it, but the federal court made a second ruling underscoring the first. So the bottom line is that the communities can't get away with it if people fight it - but they somehow manage to bury it and the bells keep ringing.

In my case the bells go for 10 minutes at 07:00 each day - and many more times on Sundays. I'm lucky that I'm a little further away so it only took me about 1 year to get used to it. For those living in a "big" city there may be almost nowhere to go to escape the noise. I'm sure Mercer didn't include that in their quality of life survey for Zurich...

Note to anyone thinking of moving to Switzerland: When you look for an apartment ALWAYS check the location of the nearest church and make sure you wait around long enough to hear the bells - ask yourself if that is a volume you could tolerate. Remember that even if you think the time chimes on the hour, quarter, half and three quarter hour are acceptable, that at certain times like 7am, they will ring all the bells constantly for an extended period.

My local church has been chiming the time 1 minute early for quite some time now. I mean - if you are going to inform everyone of the time, shouldn't it at least be accurate - especially in this country!
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Old 27.08.2006, 19:01
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Re: Why do the bell towers ring?

I must be really strange - the sound of church bells is one of the things I absolutely love about living in Europe. And I'm not even christian!

Then again, the closest church is a block and a half away, so it doesn't really wake me up too often.
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