Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Tis that time of the year for the best party around. If you have never seen Fasnacht or Carnival in Switzerland, it is a must see. I've had the pleasure of seeing it in many different cities. The funniest thing is that it you can party in one Fasnacht one week and then jet off to the next village for the next Carnival/Fasnacht.

Here's a short blurb about what happens in Basel - according to everyone, by far the best! I used to live in Basel so yes I've gotten to see this great spectacle.

Fasnacht is like one big family party for the whole of Basel, although guests are obviously more than welcome. It has to be said that our carnival, whose origins are deeply rooted in local tradition, does not give visitors much of an opportunity for active participation in the proceedings.

And there are bound to be many things you simply will not understand: our Basel dialect, the things we make fun of (usually local events and personalities), and our own special brand of humour with its strong irony. Even so, you are sure to be fascinated by the incredible party atmosphere, the vivid colours of the carnival costumes, the stirring tunes of the drummers and piccolo players, and the weird and wonderful «Guggen» music played by the brass bands.

Perhaps you will simply enjoy wandering around our city's lively streets, alleys, bars and restaurants, absorbing this unique mixture of celebration and melancholia, and the haunting enactment of mediaeval ritual: the dance of death (Totentanz) and the masquerade (Mummenschanz). The best way to enjoy things is simply to wander around the streets and go with the flow. And a final tip: don't take our humour too seriously...

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