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Carnival in Basel, Switzerland

The Basel Fasnacht is a mixture of joie de vivre and melancholy, mummery and magic. Drummers, piccolo players, Guggenmusikos, carriages, and chaises make music and intrigue through the city center. The Basel Carnival starts on a Monday after Ash Wednesday. The fact that the festival takes place only during the Lent has historical reasons. The people of Basel still adhere to the date of the Catholic Church around 325 AD. at the Council of Nicaea for the beginning of Lent. When St. Martin, the oldest church in Basel, beats four o’clock in the morning, all the lights in the city go out, and from all the streets and alleys you can hear the traditional and archaic melodies of the “Morgenstraich”. In a slow step, the pipers and drummers set in motion, while the lanterns weakly illuminate the narrow streets. It’s an indescribable atmosphere, just like in a fairytale. Some huge carnival lanterns artistically represent current political, economic and cultural matters. It is a tradition that everyone has to wear a costume and a mask. Traditional is also the flour soup and onion- and cheese ‘Wähe” that you just must try! The distinctive melodies and rhythms of carnival marches, dominate the streets and squares of the city for three days. The beautiful event ends on Thursday at four o’clock in the morning. Tired but satisfied and happy now all participants go home.

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