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Carnival reaches highpoint in Basel

Masked pipers crowd the streets of Basel Keystone

Switzerland’s carnival season has reached its climax with the start of three days of festivities in Basel.

Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of the city early on Monday as the annual festival – the country’s biggest – got underway.

The festivities were launched in the early hours of the morning with hundreds of colourfully costumed drummers and pipers cramming the streets and alleys.

At 4am the lights went out and the traditional carnival lanterns were lit for the Morgestraich – the early morning procession that kicks off the festival.

The Basel carnival, arguably Switzerland’s best-known event of its kind, is famous for its large lanterns illustrated with cartoons which lampoon events and people who made the headlines over the past year.

Other highlights are expected to be the performance of satirical verses or Schnitzelbängg sung in the local dialect, and a huge parade.

The festivities attract visitors from across Switzerland and abroad.

The Basel carnival is the latest in a series of popular events that began earlier this month in the Catholic regions of the country, including Lucerne and Ticino.

The capital, Bern, and Zurich held their festivities over the weekend, while revellers in Lausanne have to wait until April 22.

swissinfo with agencies

The Basel carnival takes place from Monday to Wednesday.
Nearly 500 groups with about 12,000 masked revellers are taking part in the event.
This year’s motto is Näbe de Schiine (Off the rails).

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR