From February 27 - March 1, 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 four unique and wild days and nights 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 4:00am; 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 4:00am.
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 March 1, 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 website for information on all the events.