Swiss Carnivals: Where to Watch the Largest Costumed Shows

Carnivals are often associated with the Brazilian festival in Rio de Janeiro, or the mystical show in Venice, Italy. Switzerland holds around 200 carnivals a year, which include spectacular actions, illumination festivals, and colorful costumed parades. Such events reflect the enormous cultural diversity of 26 cantons of the Confederation Helvetia.

Basel Carnival 

Canton of Basel-Stadt

Basel Fasnacht, otherwise known as Carnival of Basel, is the largest and only Protestant carnival in the world. It attracts more than 200,000 visitors, is held annually between the months of February and March. The carnival starts on Monday following Ash Wednesday at precisely 4:00 AM, and lasts for 3 days.

The celebration, or Basel’s madness, begins with a bonfire. Afterwards, thousands of clowns, costumed drummers, and pipers march through the City Center. Musical masked groups known as ‘cliques’ play drums, piccolos, and other musical instruments. All of them carry different decorated lanterns. Guggenmusik is performed in groups with brass instruments that play traditional Carnival music, and the Schnitzelbank bards sing satirical verses about current events, whether they are in Basel or abroad.

The culmination is the Grand Parade, which is called the Cortege. This includes decorated floats (Waage) and carriages with costumed characters that throw flowers, sweets, and oranges to the crowd, as well as shower the spectators with confetti.

Participants of this celebratory event wear costumes and masks of famous people, including politicians and actors, as well as comic characters or animals. The most popular and traditional masks of this particular holiday are Napoleonic soldiers, harlequins, and Waggis.


Lucerne’s Carnival

Canton of Lucerne

Lucerne’s Carnival, otherwise known as the Lucerne Fasnacht, is the second biggest folk festival in Switzerland that occurs annually in either February or March. The Lucerne Fasnacht begins on “Dirty Thursday” with a Big Bang at 5 o’clock in the morning. This is called the Morgenwacht (Morning Watch), and continues for 6 days until Ash Wednesday.

The Lucerne Carnival opens with the Fritschi Parade, a big costumed spectacle consisting of costumed characters, marching bands, dance troupes, and street performers. This takes place in Lucerne’s Old Town from Luzernerhof to Waldstätterstrasse. The main site of this parade is the Fritschi family, which consists of an elderly man accompanied by his wife (Fritschene), and their Fritschi child (Fritschkind). They are symbolic characters that come from the 15th century, in which they represent one the oldest guilds in Lucerne, the Saffron Guild.

The Wey Parade starts on Fat Monday (4 March) at the Hotel Luzernerhof at 14:00. On Shrove Tuesday, the Monstercorso Parade takes place at the Bahnhofstrasse.


Traffic rules in Switzerland

Every country has their own written or unwritten rules on the road. So does Switzerland. Learn about the rules, driving licenses, parking, speed limits, traffic offences, and road regulations in Switzerland.

SWISS To Offer Cheese Fondue On Board Of Its Flights From Geneva

Starting from the 1st December SWISS will offer its passengers to try cheese fondue on board of its European flights from Geneva.

Villa Vals: 5* Recreation Under an Alpine Slope

Got tired of city-noise and look forward to have a new experience? Condiser a weekend of staying in the heat of Swiss Alps… under ground.

The Best Autumn Festivals in Switzerland

In autumn, Switzerland’s small towns and big cities have the ability to bring exciting events that are famous beyond the country’s borders. Here’s our picks of the best Swiss festivals that will allow one to enjoy the spectacular scenery, the wonderful attractions, fine food and drink, and plenty of live entertainment.

Happy Birthday Switzerland

On 1st of August Switzerland celebrate its National Day. This date was first announced in 1891 but became an official holiday in 1994. SUISSEPIC collected some interesting facts.