The Carnival of Basel, the Basel Fasnacht is the biggest carnival in Switzerland and takes place annually between February and March in Basel. It has been listed as one of the top fifty local festivities in Europe.
It is a mixture of joie de vivre and melancholy, disguises, death and century old traditions.
The most striking difference to other carnivals is the strict separation of spectators and activists.
“The various cliques”, whose members prepare all year long for their floats, costumes and Schnitzelbänk. are the center of the Carnival.
Another difference is that there are no Prince and Princess of the Carnival and Fasnacht in Basel.
The Basel Fasnacht starts on the Monday after Ash Wednesday at precisely 4:00 am with the so-called Morgestraich (see below). The carnival lasts for exactly 72 hours and, therefore, ends on Thursday morning at 4:00 am. During this time the Fasnächtler dominate the old town of central Basel, running free in the streets and restaurants. Baseler Fasnacht is often referred to as die drey scheenschte Dääg (“the three most beautiful days”).