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Fasnacht Etiquette

It's almost that incredible time of the year when Basel celebrates its yearly carnival. Fasnacht, is steeped in tradition and has been celebrated in the city since 1376. As of 2017, Fasnacht became a UNESCO "Intangible Cultural Heritage Site."

This year, the event will take place from February 18 - February 21.

Each year at 04:00, Morgenstreich is the official start of Fasnacht. The street lights are all turned off, as spectacular processions take place in the dark city center. The festival lasts exactly 72 hours and is celebrated with parades, the children's afternoon (Tuesday) and festivities throughout the city. Don't miss the lanterns on display in Münsterplatz, which demonstrates tremendous creative talents of those in the cliques.

To make the most of Fasnacht, here is a list rules to follow during this three day celebration.

  1. Please do not use a flash on your camera during Morgenstreich! Part of the charm of this magical experience is the darkness of the event. To have flashes going off ruins the atmosphere and may even temporarily blind the participants.

  2. It is always a good gesture to support the Fasnacht groups by purchasing a Plakette, which helps absorb some of the costs incurred by the groups.

  3. Those marching in the street during the processions always have the right of way. Please do not cut in front of them.

  4. Please do not throw Räppli in the faces of those wearing traditional Fasnacht masks. This makes it very hard for those wearing the masks to breathe and it can be dangerous!

  5. Observers are not required to wear costumes, but feel free to do so if you wish.

For the details pertaining to Basel's Fasnacht, please visit the following website.

To read more about the traditions and events that surround this yearly festival, please check out our latest book, Winter Kids Switzerland.

Reference for this article: Rädäbäng 2023


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