Basler Fasnacht

I have been excited about checking out Fasnacht for months now. So inspite of still being a wee bit sick, I took the boys on the train into Basel for the Basler Fasnacht Wednesday parade. We missed out on the local Aarau Fasnacht. If we had all been well, we would have loved to go to the opening 4am parade on Monday in Basel too.

Fasnacht is a pre-lenten festival held in parts of southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.  I can`t figure out much more than that about the history of it. I have to say that Fasnacht is one of the strangest carnivals ever. Does anyone actually know where it came from and why people wear crazy and quite frankly, scary costumes?! All the websites I check out don’t seem to really know. They do say you have to be a Basler to understand the humour of it.  And their dialect too.  I guess I didn`t really understand.  Like, what was with the Santa Clause look-a-like riding a giraffe with a bunch of aviator head, tropical musicians?

And why do they throw fruit? An elderly man standing next to me wasn’t so lucky, I guess his reflexes weren’t so quick and got and orange thrown at his nose. There were oranges and bananas being thrown in every direction. Along with garlic and leeks?! I know, random! Of course, HUGE amounts of confetti everywhere.

Noah wasn`t too excited about all the noise and fuss.  Well, he fell asleep, so I guess that kind of gave an impression of boredom even though there were always about 5 different bands and flute groups playing around him. The noise was defeaning!  Have to give the musicians credit for being able to wear the heavy costumes, maneuver around town and play instruments (trying concentrating on the song you are playing while 3 other groups are playing something else right next to you!)

It was one of the weirdest events I have even attended, but I am still very impressed. It was pretty cool to be part of this festival, even if  just for an afternoon, and even though I didn`t get it. The costumes were incredible and must have taken lots of work and imagination. And the music was cool. Loved all the piccolo playing gnomes and colourful drummers. I love that people get into character and have no shame in wearing any costume and acting the part. Lots of the crowd were dressed up too, even wee one year olds.   Would love to the see the New Zealand crowd actually get dressed up for real. I have been to heaps of ‘costume parties’ where no one has bothered to get dressed up. SAD! Us New Zealanders have a lot to learn when it comes to tradition, costumes and throwing party parades!

1 Response to “Basler Fasnacht”


  1. 1 Susan

    Hope you are all feeling o.k. I’ve missed your blog. I was at the Fasnacht Morgenstreich parade and enjoyed it very much. Nothing was thrown! God bless you and your family.

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