Faschnacht: Switzerland´s carnival season

I remember when I was a child, I experienced a carnival in the village where my grandmother lived. I was fascinated by the procession of traditional masks that went from house to house. My grandmother fried doughnuts and traditional pastry and prepared herself for the Lent period preceding the Easter.

Fasnacht: the Swiss carnival

Before we moved to Switzerland, I had thoroughly read travel guides so I had read also about the traditional Swiss Fasnacht. But here it is celebrated differently than in my home country. The only thing common is the parade of masks and the traditional pastry. Here, in Switzerland, the Fasnacht is one big carnival lasting a few days in which participates the whole town or village.

Switzerland’s carnival season traditionally begins the weekend before the Ash Wednesday, in some regions up to a week after it. In my opinion, the terms vary according to whether you are in the Catholic or Protestant part of Switzerland (if it´s not that reason, then don´t hesitate to correct me). Lent typically starts 40 days before Easter, so the dates of the carnival festivity change each year.

Probably the most famous is “Fasnacht” in Basel, Luzern, Bern (a tasting you could see in my Facebook post), in Zurich, etc. However, almost every village organizes its carnival parade.

Langenthaler Fasnacht

I have never pushed my husband to participate in such an event because I know he has a little aversion to “mass” actions. And for the little babies (which our youngest was until recently) it’s not the most place friendly because of the noise. However, when learned from our friend (yes, the same who recommended us SnowPark Eriz or Flügerchilbi in Bleienbach) that a carnival parade is taking place in nearby town Langenthal, we decided to go. Because, believe me, events recommended by the locals are “proven”.

As we arrived a bit later, we were unable to buy the “Plakette” – a metal badge that has a different design every year and that´s why becomes a collector’s item.

We melted into the crowd, and then we were watching the masks and allegorical vehicles marching along a planned route through the town.

It was a fascinating spectacle of masks. From penguins, Egyptian gods, sea monsters, pirates, skiers to terrifying devils.

The spectators here were allowed (as opposed to a carnival in Basel where it´s forbidden) to dress up in costumes too and throw a confetti to the procession.

Even though I’m not a fan of brass music (I prefer a cimbalom), the Guggenmusik (traditional carnival brass marching music) has something in it. Especially when they start to play famous hits, you suddenly start to smile and move in rhythm.

While you do not know where to look first, people on the vehicles throw tons of confetti, candy to the kids, but we were also almost hit by an apple.

If you’re planning to visit Langenthaler Fasnacht next year, on the website you can find dates until 2059! Don´t you believe? So, look here!

PS: be prepared for the fact, that during the following days you will find confetti literally everywhere. And I really mean it. Yes, even in your underwear. And no, don´t ask me how they could´ve got there.

If my photo report was not enough for you, you can watch this video:

We liked the mix of Guggenmusik bands, creatively designed vehicles and costumed groups in Langenthal very much. And which is your favorite carnival parade? Tell me in the comments!

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Categories: Events, Switzerland
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Hana Hurábová

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