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Solothurn Carnival

Solothurn Carnival

Feb 24, 2022Mar 02, 2021
Canton Solothurn, Solothurn
Free Entrance

On the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the town of Solothurn turns into Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, due to an old anecdote.

Hawaii on the other side of the globe

A witty fellow once said that the town of Solothurn on the River Aare is exactly on the opposite side of the globe from Hawaii, and the idea stuck. The event begins at 5am on Maundy Thursday with Chesslete: the initial carnival celebration.

This consists of a parade that is escorted through the entire city with torch bearers. All the participants wear a white nightshirt and nightcap, but no mask, and they make roaring music with brass drums and percussion instruments. In the afternoon, it is officially claimed that carnival time has begun. On Saturday, there are masked balls, and later in the week, huge parades hit the streets.

The parades usually depict a slightly satirical theme, and on Tuesday, the large brass band bellows festive music into the night. The spectacular carnival ends with The Boogg, or the straw man, which is burnt on Ash Wednesday.

Since 1853, the festival gone to the "Narrenzunft Honolulu", the Honolulu fool's guild, with the carnival general assembly.  The head of the Narrenzunft Honolulu replaces the mayor, the former name of Rathaugasse is reinstated, and Solothurn calls itself Honolulu until Ash Wednesday.

Excited to be a part of this amazing occasion?

Head over to the official website for more information on the carnival, accommodation, other Swiss excursions, and all COVID-19 information.