|Subject: Bussling Basel|
Once again this year, I will be going to famous Basel Carnival.
Basel Carnival begins at 4 am on the Monday morning with Morgenstreich and continues all the way through to 4 am on the Thursday morning - a full three days of indulgence.
For the last few years, I have always made it to the MorgaStreich and stayed through to Wednesday evening but have never made it through to Thursday morning as I'm normally knackered by then - especially if I have stayed up to take the 2am special train from Zuerich to get there.
Basel Fasnacht is a genuinely wonderful experience and a great way to see Swiss with their hair let down and indulge yourself in some local culture.
If you are thinking of coming to the Basler Fasnacht, IMO it is not complete without attending Morgastreich. But do dress up warm and get there early! The hour may be unthinkable to night owls like myself but the marching of the highly decorated lanterns through the darkened streets of Basel is a sight to behold. On each lantern, a chosen subject or person of prominence from the preceding year is carictured.
With much lampooning of local politicians and local affairs in Baslertuutsch (the local dialect of German), non-Swiss such as myself often loose some of the humour, but there is plenty of visual parody of prominent international politicians and events as well - I will leave to your imagination which prominent American, British and Italian politicians have been subjected to the Basel wit in recent years.
If you do come, be sure to wear your Plakette (proceeds of which finance the Carnival) prominently, lest you be dowsed in Rappli (confetti), which will, in truly efficient Swiss fashion, be cleaned from the street by the next morning.
The Tuesday (the middle day of the three) is given over the Childrens Parades, which makes this a truly family event, in spite of the long hours of partying and satire.
There is a great rivallary here in Switzerland between Luzern und Basel over who has the better Carnival. Perhaps this year, I will be able to report on both - but (as an outsider) remain neutral in this debate!
More information on Basel Fasnacht at www.fasnacht.ch and for info on Luzerner Fasnacht see http://www.luzerner-fasnacht.ch
Mark Sukhija, in Zuerich