Basel FasnachtCostumes worn by Fasnacht participants come in many forms. Clique members will dress to suit the subject chosen for by the group for lampooning this time around. However, there are several traditional costumes and masks always on show. Collectors can purchase (pricey) pewter, or ceramic figures dressed for Fasnacht, sold by the group, or singly. Here is a sampling from Fasnachts Past.

Waggis (buffoons)

Basel Fasnacht
Buffoons known as Waggis do a comedic turn on Alsatian peasants. Waggis have huge mouths, and large teeth and noses.
Basel Fasnacht
Waggis are omnipresent at Fasnacht, in their wooden clogs, and traditionally anyway, white trousers, blue shirts and red kerchiefs around the neck. These days, pretty much anything goes.

Alti Dante (“Old Aunts“)

Basel Fasnacht
One of the Alti Dante, or Old Aunts, spinsters wearing ruffled silks and enormous feathered and lacy hats. Their noses are thin and pointed, their wigs old-fashioned.
Basel Fasnacht
Alti Dante usually travel the parade routes in pairs, in horse-drawn carriages.
Basel Fasnacht
Nowadays, Old Aunts like these have updated their look.

Harlekin

Basel Fasnacht
The Harlekin is a character from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. He wears a broad Venetian hat. Here, a Harlekin hands out Zeedel, sheets printed with satiric verses in Basel dialect.

Ueli (the jester)

Basel Fasnacht
Ueli (also a local beer brand) is based on the medieval jester. He has a hooked nose, and a mask with two horns. He wears a costume covered with tiny bells.

Blätzlibajass, Dummpeeter & Pierrot

Basel Fasnacht
The Blätzlibajass is another traditional character from the Commedia dell’Arte, the Bajazzo. He wears a sack-like costume, covered with hundreds of tile-shaped fabric tabs, and a cone-shaped hat.

There are at least three more traditional Fasnacht characters:

The Blätzlibajass wears a sack-like costume, covered with hundreds of tile-shaped fabric tabs, and a cone-shaped hat.

Dummpeeter has a snub-nose and a white pigtail, wears 18th-century garb and a tiny brass trumpet as a pendant.

Pierrot wears a peacock’s feather on a round cap, and has an air of melancholy. He was a character of both the Commedia dell’Arte and French pantomime theater, made famous by Picasso.

Do you have a favorite Fasnacht figure?

For a brief overview of Basel Fasnacht, visit MySwitzerland.com.

Related posts:

The (mostly unwritten) rules of Fasnacht

Fasnacht for a foodie

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2 COMMENTS

    • Thank you Amy! There are still some characters I’ve not caught with my camera, and I’ll hope to do that this year. Thanks for your Mehlsuppe recipe, it looks yummy!

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