Fasnacht: Costumes & Confetti

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

When chatting about Switzerland, we typically rave about ski resorts, lake-front picnic spots and cozy fondue chalets. It’s oh so rare, we start dropping words like party, crazy and noisy, but when we do, it must mean one thing…Fasnacht! Hands-down THE biggest & craziest celebrations in Switzerland that are a MUST for every and all Zuri Girls.

Think Mardi Gras…think Rio Carnival…think wacky costumes, colorful confetti, crazy masks & redefining the word ‘street parade’. Think all you want, but you will never believe it until you see it for Fasnacht in Switzerland is a truly unique & downright fun celebration.

While the dates & traditions vary from canton to canton and without doing dishonor to our lovely home of Zurich, we highly recommend Fasnacht in Basel & Lucerne, but can’t resist sharing the dates & info for the festivals coming up not too far from Zurich…

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Lucerne

Dates: 23 – 28 February

Don’t Miss: Known as Schmutziger Donnerstag (Dirty Thursday), The Fritschi Parade at 2pm kicks off the all day / all night party

Find Out More: Lucerne Tourism

Solothurn

Dates: 22 February – 3 March

Don’t Miss: Check out how their Böögg burns

Find Out More: Solothurn Tourism

Bern

Dates: 2 March – 4 March

Don’t Miss: We know and love Bern for its Bears and that’s how it all begins as the captured prisoner is freed

Find Out More: Bärner Fasnacht

Winterthur

Dates: 3 – 6 March

Don’t Miss: Check out the childrens parade on Monday

Find Out More: Winterthur Fasnacht

Zurich

Dates: 3 – 5 March

Don’t Miss: New Orleans style jazz played all weekend at the Fraumunster Church…of course, guggen style!

Find Out More: Zuerich Carneval 

Basel

Dates: 18 – 24 February

Don’t Miss: Known as the “three finest days” in Basel, Morgenstreich starts the festivities at 4am (yes…am) when 200 illuminated, decorated canvas lanterns are paraded through the dark city center streets

Find Out More: Fasnacht Basel

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Zuri Girl Fasnacht Tips 

Buy an Official Badge souvenir. Each Fasnacht has their own version and Zurich’s badge supports a Children’s Aid Foundation.

Fasnacht Chüechli is THE Fasnacht pastry (fried dough with powdered sugar…yum) and easily found in COOP – buy one and share it with friends! Of course, during Fasnacht, don’t even consider eating anything other than street-vendor raclette, candied nuts and Glühwein. Ok…maybe a sausage can get worked in there too!

It’s quite likely you won’t understand the inner circles of Fasnacht unless you are truly a local. Most songs & street performers poke fun at local events & personalities in their own dialect, but don’t fear…there’s entertainment for everyone

Some words you’ll see associated with Fasnacht include: Waggis, confetti, larve and Guggenmusik. You could spend hours reading the traditions behind Fasnacht and even more mesmerizing is each Canton has different lingo and traditions.

Favorite Fasnacht adult costume shops in Zurich include: Atop and Deho and kid’s can join the fun with help from H&M Bahnhofstrasse.

Fasnacht is 100% family friendly, but as all big street parties go, it does get extremely loud & crowded.

SBB has special train fares to help you stay out partying all night and still arrive home safely & stress-free.

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Photo copyright: Switzerland Tourism. swiss-image.ch/Christof Sonderegger