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Fasnacht in Switzerland

March 5, 2011
Fasnacht in Switzerland

Fasnacht in Baden

Woke up at 5am this morning to join in on Morgenstreich in our Swiss village outside of Baden.  It’s the beginning of Fasnacht here in Switzerland and our town was awoken by a parade of noise makers to mark the beginning of Fasnacht, or the Swiss version of Carnival.  This is the time of year when the normally peaceful and quiet Swiss people go a little bit wild, dressing in elaborate masks and costumes and parading through the streets making noise and playing music – good fun for all ages in cities and towns across Switzerland.

The Fasnacht celebrations are held at different times in various cantons, but normally take place just before or after Lent.  The origins of the festival are a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions and have been held as they are today since the 19th century.  The two most famous celebrations are in Basel and Luzern, but many towns host their own Fasnacht festivities throughout Switzerland.  You can find a schedule of many of the celebrations on’s website.

We enjoyed our local festivities here in our village and then in Baden later in the day where we enjoyed a parade of masked bands blaring Guggenmusik for all to hear.  The celebration is something unlike anything I’ve seen in the US and I can only describe it as a little bit Mardi Gras with some Halloween thrown in for fun.  Last year was our first year to observe the celebration and we were taken aback to see our normally reserved Swiss neighbors enjoying such a noisy and boisterous occasion.  Here’s a taste of the Guggenmusik we enjoyed today.

I’m thinking of checking out Basel Fasnacht as well, which is held a week later most other Carnivals in Switzerland.  Fasnacht in Basel begins the Monday after Ash Wednesday with Morgenstreich at 4am and festivities last exactly 72 hours.  Check here for a schedule of all Basel festivities:

Well I hope that we were successful in scaring away winter and all evil spirits today in our town.  I am ready to welcome spring!

Jennifer Grinold
Travel Agent, Grin Travel

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2011 5:12 am

    I’ve never seen anything like it either and I’ve only seen the smaller celebrations in Germany, I can only imagine what the REALLY big ones like the one in Cologne would be like. Very entertaining though and am hoping that winter has been scared away as well.

  2. March 6, 2011 9:37 am


    Well it was sunny today in our Swiss village, so I think we must have done a good job yesterday! So they have Fasnacht/Carnival in Germany, as well?


  3. March 7, 2011 7:30 am

    Thanks for the great article – I had no idea this celebration existed. Sounds like fun!

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