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Fasnacht 2019 Political (in)correctness lights up Basel carnival

“To the end” is the motto of this year’s Basel carnival, which began on Monday at 4am. As the lights went out in the city centre, colourful satirical lanterns illuminated the 10,000 revellers and musicians. (Keystone SDA,

“Morgestraich, vorwärts marsch!” (morning parade, forward march!). The cry rang out and the groups started shuffling along the streets of Basel’s Old Town behind their massive lanterns. The sky was clear, the wind was calm, and drummers and pipers ensured everyone was wide awake. 

The range of targets for the lanterns was as wide as in previous years. In addition to racism, environmental pollution and assisted suicide, the satirists took aim at global news events (US President Donald Trump as a pedlar of fake news) as well as more local ones (a blaze in a Basel timber yard). 

A lantern at the Basel carnival

"Hypocritical. Neutral" - this lantern is taking aim at Switzerland's claims of being neutral and championing human rights while exporting weapons and ammunition

(Georgios Kefalas/Keystone)

As expected, gender roles, sexism and political (in)correctness played a significant role. 

(Keystone SDA,

Who's in control? Celebrating 100 years of Circus Knie, often called Switzerland’s national circus, are (from left) President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, British Prime Minister Theresa May and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The elephant is the United States.

(Georgios Kefalas/Keystone)

The motto, “Bis zletscht” (to the end), alludes to the end of the MUBA trade fair, the self-declared “mother of all trade fairs”, which closed its doors in Basel for the 103rd and final time in February. 


Even if you speak German, you might be thrown by some of the local terms heard at the Basel carnival. Here are a few of them: 

Bebbi: a person or people from Basel. “Look at that/those Bebbi!”. A local child is a Binggi. 

Druggede: the throng of people at the Morgestreich. 

Gässle: To wind through the alleys, usually stopping off for something to eat or drink. 

Goschdym: a costume. There are several classical carnival characters such as Ueli, Bajass, Waggis and the Old Aunt. Everyone actively involved in carnival gets dressed up. Spectators don’t. 

Ladäärne/Ladättere: the satirical lanterns. 

Larve: a mask.

Räppli: confetti. 

(Source: 20Minuten)

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Controversy Swiss police investigate KKK carnival costumes

The Schwyz cantonal police force has interviewed all 12 people who dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes during carnival celebrations last week.

This content was published on March 10, 2019 6:27 PM

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