Basel Carnival

Basel Carnival

Feb 19, 2024Feb 22, 2024

From February 19-22, Basel will be hosting its traditional Basel Fasnacht, the largest carnival in Switzerland.

Basel Carnival brings the Swiss city to life

The carnival is a significant part of the culture of Basel and is the heart of creativity in the region, represented by the three unique and wild days and nights (plus a few extra hours) when the locals get to let their hair down. Coined “Dame Fasnacht” by the people of Basel, it combines music with stunning lanterns and artistic performances.

The purpose of these eccentric displays is to discuss sociopolitical topics, stories and current events in a proud, witty and humorous manner that is traditional to the Basel people. The carnival starts on the Monday after Ash Wednesday in complete darkness at 4am; then, the “Morgestraich” transforms the city centre into a sea of illuminated lanterns that are hand-painted with symbols and figures.

Thousands of pipers and drummers accompany these lanterns continuously with music until the “Andstraich” on Thursday morning at 4am.

Parade through the streets of Basel

The Kinderfasnacht is another aspect of the Basel Carnival. During this night, children are accompanied by their parents while dressed in fabulous costumes, carrying drums and other musical instruments, roaming the streets and distributing candy.

On Tuesday evening, the Guggenmusik bands – 60 brass bands with boisterous musical instruments – gather at Exhibition Square at 6.30pm. Then they parade through the city centre and play, slightly off-key, at specially prepared stages throughout the city. The famous Schnitzelbank singers are a highlight, as they comment on political and social events with songs that they wrote themselves with elegantly rhymed and witty verses.

The carnival ends with Endstreich on the morning of February 22, where all the participants go all out after midnight and play a final march to mark the end of the Basel Carnival.

Plan your trip to Basel Fasnacht today

Take part in the culture of Basel with this imaginative carnival! Check the official Basel city website for information on all events in the area.