Basler Fasnacht – impressions from the Ladärne-n-Usschtellig

Fasnacht 2017 at Basel (carnival) was celebrated in March, from Monday 6th/4 a.m. to Thursday 9th/4 a.m. Let me recall impressions from the Ladärne-n-Usschtellig or exhibition of lanterns.


The exhibition of lanterns (Ladärne-n-Usschtellig ) takes place on the Münsterplatz –  a great background

On carnival Tuesday, the lanterns (Ladärne) are presented on the Münsterplatz – the cathedral underlines the solemnity of the many pieces of art presented here. They are the centerpieces of the sujets (or themes) that the Cliquen (carnival groups) have selected for this year’s carnival. Here I am remembering some of the themes.


One theme: China – buying enterprises

China is buying enterprises, also in Switzerland. “Kyna duet do läädele” (China goes shopping here). Syngenta was on their buying list – may be La Roche (La Losch) is next and then also the “Fääle” (the Rhine ferry boat, it seems that the Chinese say “l” instead of “r”)…

… or they may intend to buy the Sutter Begg (a well-known bakery), the Basler Kantonalbank (bank of Basel), BVB (the public transportation of Basel) and more…

The Asian cat is greeting us.

Another theme: Angscht – fear – adds a black mood to this year’s carnival

Many lanterns are dark. “Angscht” or “fear” is omnipresent.

The Lälli Clique presents Atlas trying to prevent the world from falling apart.

Idefix, the small dog of Obelix, swears “bim Teutates” and underlines his anger with his paw: D’Wält spinnt” (the world is crazy –  but I love Basel),…

… they are are all cheating (alles trixt)… VW, Fifa and Bangge (the banks)… and they are paying no taxes (verstüürnix)… and Service publix? – Well, I watch Nexflix”

“Extrem rächts” or extremely right-wing – is a tendency that worries some of the carnival groups. Ghosts from the past?


Some more joyful themes: Heidi, holes in Switzerland, Pokemons and more

This patriotic Swiss scenery – an almost perfect world – is brightening up the mood: Heidi, Spyri’s novel about the girl from the mountains, has recently been filmed. Here she is acting in front of the camera with Gaissepeter (goatherd Peter).

The new Gotthard railway tunnel has been inaugurated shortening travel time between the Ticino and the rest of Switzerland. For the inauguration festîvities, our Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard wears a jacket with round holes – resembling our cheese from the Emmental. Her jacket is controversial – many like it and some do not. “GottArt” for the Gotthard is a punch and the marmots welcome the tunnel as well. I think, the jacket with holes is a great and courageous idea.

Pokemons are hidden all over Basel and around the cathedral. This hype became a wonderful topic full of fantasy, primarily for some “Jungi Garde” or kids in the carnival groups.

The City-Hupfer allows tourists to hop (hupfe) AROUND the Basel city center. AROUND the city center, because much of the center is car free: The tourists have to leave the bus and walk to reach the sights. The number plate is “BS or Basel 2017”.

The Swiss boxer Anton Gjergjaj is very successful. Here he is as batman with the black double eagle on his red coat. In the cortège (parade), the drummers and pipers were cobras.

This lantern is full of details commenting the world. I particulary like “the hundred days of Sankt Ischias” in the damp Verena canyon. The monk is suffering from sciatic pain (Ischias). “Das Kreuz als Kraftort” translates to “the cross as a place of power”. In German it is a punch, as “Kreuz” can be both the Christian “cross” and also the lower part of the back (where the sciatic pain hurts).


Yet another theme: Food

The Binggis (young kids) ask where the milk comes from, and they ask it in German, French and Italian. Well, we buy our milk in shops, and it comes in cardboard boxes – like the shape of the lantern. Kids from towns may not know the real source – cows, as the white color and black spots suggest.

“Fleisch isch geschter – mir grille, grille” (Meat is yesterday, we are barbecuing, barbecuing). “Grille” is Swiss German for “to barbecue” and “grille” is also the insect “cricket” that we may eat in future (instead of meat). “Grille” is a punch that only works in Swiss German.

The Queerschleger look for healthy “super food” such as carots, mais, cucumbers or fennel. “Güürkli” or “gherkins” are another option. In all… juice and organic vegetables are good for our heart, and also “gsund fir d’Katz und dr Hund” (healthy for the cat and the dog).

On this same lantern, the crab shows the white flag… and it may be successful, if we restrict our diet to nothing but vegetables.

May this white flag brighten the often dark mood of this year’s carnival and give hope that Atlas will hold the world together such that next year’s carnival will present more bright topics.

Yes, next year in 2018, Fasnacht will be on February 19th to 21st. As always it will start on Monday at 4 a.m. with the Morgestraich (“morning stroke”, see the video of radio Basilisk). It is celebrated with the Cortège (parade), Schnitzelbängg (carnival songs), Kinderfasnacht (children’s carnival), Guggekonzärt (“dissonant” brass music) and Schyssdräggzygli (small groups piping and drumming). It ends with the Endstreich (“final stroke”) on Thursday 4 a.m. The Fasnachtscomité explains it all and the internet is full of reviews and videos. I always enjoy the creative skill that the groups (called “Cliquen”) demonstrate year after year and look forward to 2018.






2 thoughts on “Basler Fasnacht – impressions from the Ladärne-n-Usschtellig

  1. Vitoria says:

    Hey Petra 🙂

    What an stunningly beautiful post 🙂 You kept every worthy impression and described everything around it. So good. And filling in all the native words, so one can learn them while reading? Brilliant idea 😀

    At the moment I’m at a german language school and give my best to learn german as fast as I can , because I’m on a language journey right now. Next stop was supposed to be France, but while reading your text I remembered that someone once told me that Swiss-German isn’t that different from german. Well, I didn’t understand one native word you used xD So maybe I’ll be at the “Basler Fasnacht” and listen to some Swiss-German and be stunned by those amazing decorations and that awesome mood each and everyone seems to have 😉

    But for now I’m exploring Berlin Friedrichshain, where my language school is located 🙂 Will be here for the next 6 Month so I would love to invite you to a coffee in Berlin and talk about all your journeys through the world, as I just started mine and can use every tip you have to share 😀

    Love V

    • peterspetra says:

      thank you, Vitoria, for your kind and detailed reply. When you come to Basel, contact me and I will show my town to you, while teaching you more German and more Baseldytsch. My mun was from Berlin, hence I am there often and I also blogged about Berlin (perhaps some of my blogs are useful for your exploring Berlin). I plan to go this year and will be happy to accept your invitation. Much success for learning German, Petra

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