Basler Fasnacht (Carnival)
The people of Basel describe their carnival as the "drey scheenschte Dääg" (the three most beautiful days) in the year. And the city is turned upside down. The Basler Fasnacht takes place between the middle of February and mid-March. The Basler Fasnacht (carnival) lasts 72 hours – from 4.00 a.m. on Monday morning to 4.00 a.m. on Thursday. And, as always, it promises to be an unforgettable experience for young and old. Piccolos and drums, together with “Guggenmusiken”, shape the world of sound, and the colourful costumes and "Larven" (masks) enliven the appearance of the city streets.
The start of the Basler Fasnacht is the “Morgenstreich” (morning parade), which takes place on Monday at exactly four a.m. in the morning. Around 200 lanterns accompany the “Cliques” with their piccolos and drums through the darkened city centre. The lanterns show the so-called “Sujets” – events that have caused a stir in Basel over the last year – in a satirical form. In the restaurants, you can enjoy the traditional flour soup (gruel) and open onion and cheese pies.
On the Monday and Wednesday afternoons, from 1.30 p.m., more than 10,000 masked carnival participants present their “Sujets” along a predetermined carnival route with drums, piccolos and crazy Guggenmusik. They move through the city on foot and on floats, with lanterns and countless quirky accessories. «Zeedel» (slips of paper) are distributed, on which the “Sujets” are made fun of in amusing rhyming verses in Basel dialect. “Räppli” (confetti) is thrown from the floats, as well as oranges, mimosas and much more.
The Guggenkonzert (Guggemusic Concert)
On Tuesday evening the city centre belongs above all to the Guggenmusiken. Their deafening, crazy but also stirring open-air concerts on the Marktplatz, Barfüsserplatz and Claraplatz are enjoyed by thousands of Fasnacht fans from 8.00 p.m.
One of the highlights for the real fans of the Basler Fasnacht is the “Gässle”. The expression quite simply means following the large and small drum and piccolo formations in step at a slow march through the streets of the historic city centre, to listen to the old, familiar tunes, but also to all the new marches that are composed, and to let yourself be carried away for a few hours in the blissful Fasnacht feeling.
More than 60 “Schnitzelbänke” sing in groups in around 30 pubs and restaurants in the city centre on the Monday evening and Wednesday evening. They make fun of the events and incidents from politics, society and sport that have taken place during the last year - to various melodies and always in rhyming Basel dialect in verses that reveal the humorous or witty punch-line in the very last line.
How do you get to the Basler Fasnacht?
It’s best to come by train or, if you need to use your car, you should leave it in one of the multi-storey car parks on the outskirts of the city. The Basel public transport services offer a well-thought-out special timetable for both trams and buses. More about the Basler Fasnacht
The Basel pre-Fasnacht period
Weeks before the Morgenstreich, numerous pre-Fasnacht events set the mood for the Basler Fasnacht. The starting event is the presentation of the latest «Blaggedde» (carnival badge) and its subject. More about the Basel pre-Fasnacht