Carnival in Basel (Fasnacht)
Basel Carnival is part of the city’s identity – culturally speaking, it is at the heart of its creative energies and represents three days when the city goes wild. Owing to its uniqueness and quality, it has been added to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.
Our «Dame Fasnacht» – as the people of Basel lovingly call their festival – will transport you into the world of a different type of carnival. The event combines unique musical instruments, creativity and ideas, and first-rate artistic performances. This is where socio-political topics, stories and current events are communicated in a typical Basel manner: proudly, with acerbic wit and biting humour.
Basel is turned upside-down during what locals call the “three best days” in the year. Everything starts on the Monday after Ash Wednesday at exactly 4 am – in total darkness. The popular “Morgestraich” then turns the city centre into a sea of illuminated, hand-painted lanterns, where thousands of costumed pipers and drummers accompany “their lantern” and “their theme” with music through the streets – until the “Endstraich” on Thursday, again precisely at 4 am. And you absolutely have to experience everything in between.
It’s official: Basel’s Fasnacht has been recognized by UNESCO as an element of intangible cultural heritage. With this decision, the International Committee has paid tribute to the rich traditions and uniqueness of Basel’s Fasnacht, which is only the second-ever element of Swiss heritage to be awarded the UNESCO label for intangible cultural heritage.Details
The flair of an artist from Basel
It’s a magic moment when at 4 a.m., on the morning of “Morgestraich”, the lights in the city are turned off and only the colourful painted lanterns light up the darkness. Each year, thousands of spectators admire the mobile works of art of the carnival groups (“cliques”). Many of them are unmistakably the work of one of the most sought-after lantern artists in the city: Urs Degen, known as “Däge”, is a well-known graphic artist, illustrator and cartoonist with a passion for Basel's carnival. Creating these artistic lanterns is a heartfelt undertaking for him. Months ahead of the carnival, “Däge” is busy with his paintbrushes before it's time again for: «Morgestraich, forward march!»Details