Thursday, 21 February 2013

Basler Fasnacht is different.

Basler Fasnacht ended today at 4 a.m. - one of only a handful of carnivals that take place after the Ash Wednesday curfew.

If you've ever attended a carnival in Germany, Basel's version may confuse you. Aware of cultural sensitivities, the local tourist board has even started offering "crash courses" to German tourists visiting Basel during what people here call die drey scheenschte Dääg (the three most beautiful days of the year). Unlike the famous carnivals in Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf, active participation by spectators through dressing up or wearing face paint is frowned upon. It is this and the melancholic side to Basler Fasnacht that unassuming visitors from north of border initially have trouble adapting to - hence Basel Tourism's aforementioned re-educative endeavours. Despite being organised in typically Swiss clockwork fashion, there is none of the forced humour and "fun" that blights German carnivals. And the social and political commentary - rendered in the local Baseldytsch dialect - is biting, despite the masks all participants must wear.


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  2. Hi Simon...

    you worry me....a Manchester United fan...then you go to India to get montezuma's revenge and now you say you like Fastnacht!

    You need to visit Dr. Barry to get a remedy...

  3. Hi Barry,

    It's Fasnacht without a "t", just as I spelt it above. And it has nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - to do with that cringeworthy excuse for a knees-up with jester's hats that they call "Fastnacht" in and around Mainz.

    Anyway, I thought jester's hats and red noses were all the rage down at the "Ettihad"... ;-)


    PS: The "Dehli Belly" episode was admittedly unfortunate, as I'm a huge cricket fan. India was amazing though.

  4. Fasnacht... I stand corrected...I hate Faschning in Germany...mind you...I hate the 8 week Xmas period as well... memory goes back to my holiday in the Black Forest...May...last minute...I had more than a red nose that evening!