Basel’s population can almost double during Fasnacht, and it is astonishing how well the enormous crowds are accommodated around the festivities. Events are scheduled to the minute; schedules are adhered to; and active Fasnacht participants must follow many (unwritten) rules, which do not pertain to spectators. Even for observers, though, there are some do’s and don’ts.
Here are a few simple guidelines, to get the utmost out of the Fasnacht experience.
- Buy a Blaggedde (carnival badge) and wear it visibly on your coat: proceeds from the sale of the metal badges contributes to covering the costs of Fasnacht. If a Waggis catches you without a badge, you will be “punished” with an extra dose of confetti down your shirt, or a potato in your pocket!
- Respect personal property: piccolos and drums are expensive instruments; they are NOT souvenirs!
- Leave the confetti on the ground and avoid throwing objects, such as oranges. If you want to throw confetti, buy bags of it, there is plenty on sale everywhere. If a Waggis tosses you an orange or a bouquet of mimosa, it is yours to keep, not throw.
- Come early to Morgestraich, and leave baby carriages and jewelry at home
- Do the Gässle (wander the streets) and go with the flow!
- Do not block the way of the marchers. They have right of way! Besides, their masks and instruments block both a marcher’s vision and their freedom of movement.
- Do not use flash for your photographs; it blinds the marchers and especially for Morgestraich, spoils the mood.
- Do not set off fireworks—that’s for another time, simply not appropriate for Fasnacht.
- Do not wear a costume or mask or exhibit drunken behavior. Only active participants wear costumes, and although plenty of white wine goes down during Fasnacht, Basel’s carnival is not about drunken revelry.
For a detailed program of events leading up to, and following, the “three most beautiful days” visit www.fasnachts-comite.ch (E, F, G).