Carnival of Basel 2024: - A Detailed Event Schedule

Embark on a journey into the lively traditions of the Carnival of Basel 2024, where the infectious beats of Guggen music resonate and a spectacular Cortège, boasting 12,000 participants, unfolds. Navigate the festivities effortlessly by referring to our Carnival of Basel 2024 event schedule, ensuring an immersive experience that captures every moment of this cultural extravaganza. Don’t just attend; make the most of your Carnival of Basel 2024 adventure with our detailed event schedule, your key to unlocking the heart of this extraordinary celebration!

The Heartbeat of Basel

There’s a saying that goes, “You haven’t truly experienced Switzerland until you’ve been to the Carnival of Basel.” And boy, isn’t that the truth! In the heart of Basel, once a year, the city transforms into a riot of colours, music, and laughter. It’s a time where the usual humdrum of life takes a backseat, and the vibrant spectacle of the carnival takes centre stage. This article peels back the curtain to the Carnival of Basel 2024: The Event Schedule, giving you an insider’s guide to this grand celebration.

The Cortege from 19. to 21. of February 2024

A standout feature of the Carnival of Basel 2024 is the “Cortège”, a grand procession involving around 12,000 costumed participants. They present their unique “Sujet” (theme) in groups of varying sizes, adding to the overall vibrancy. This spectacular event takes place on Carnival Monday and Wednesday. The term “Cortège”, borrowed from French, indicates a ceremonial procession, aptly capturing the rich cultural essence of the Carnival of Basel.

The grandeur of the Carnival of Basel 2024 is not limited to a single day, as the Cortège takes place on each of the three days of the festival. However, it is the traditional “Morgestraich” (in Basel dialect), an event that begins at 4 am on the Monday of the carnival, that sets the tone and initiates the festivities. The Morgestraich, with its enchanting lantern display, is a beautiful prelude to the lively and colourful Cortège processions to follow.

Monday

The ‘Morgenstreich’ (4:00 AM, 19th February 2024)

The “Morgenstreich,” an awe-inspiring tradition of the Carnival of Basel 2024, is a spectacle that commences precisely at four in the morning. As the city awakens, every light is extinguished across Basel, leaving it enshrouded in an anticipatory silence. And then, as the city clock strikes four, the cliques begin their enchanting music, permeating the quiet corners of the city. This moment, steeped in history and brimming with emotion, is an unmissable experience during the Carnival of Basel. The Morgenstreich transforms Basel into a mesmerising ocean of lanterns at dawn, casting an enchanting spell over the city.

The ‘Cortége’ (1:30 PM – 6:00 PM, 19th and 21st February 2024)

A standout feature of the Carnival of Basel 2024is the “Cortège”, a grand procession involving around 12,000 costumed participants. They present their unique “Sujet” (theme) in groups of varying sizes, adding to the overall vibrancy. This spectacular event takes place on Carnival Monday and Wednesday. The term “Cortège”, borrowed from French, indicates a ceremonial procession, aptly capturing the rich cultural essence of the Carnival of Basel.

The Carnival of Basel 2024 fosters an extraordinary display of unity and diversity during the “Cortege” with groups varying in size, structure, and musical instruments. It’s not uncommon to see smaller bands connecting and marching together, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere. This fascinating blend is an essential part of the Cortege’s appeal, bringing together individuals, large and small cliques, Guggen bands, and even beautifully adorned carriages, each adding a unique touch to this grand parade. This unity in diversity is a hallmark of the Basel Carnival 2024, truly a spectacle not to be missed.

Tuesday

The ‘Children’s Carnival’ (20th February 2024)

On day three of the Carnival of Basel 2024, the city’s streets become a playground for the little ones. The ‘Children’s Carnival’ is a joyous spectacle brimming with miniature floats, colourful costumes, and infectious enthusiasm. This youthful take on the traditions of the carnival captures its spirit perfectly and fills the city with a unique vibrancy.

Throughout the city centre, an intense carnival atmosphere pervades. Small groups of children, often accompanied by their parents or grandparents, proudly uphold the traditions of the carnival. Adorned in imaginative costumes and equipped with drums and other instruments, they navigate the streets, distributing their homemade ‘Zeedel’ (handouts) and ‘Dääfeli’ (sweets). The air is filled with ‘Räppli’ (confetti), as the children playfully toss them at each other.

Meanwhile, adults also immerse themselves in the carnival spirit. Forming impromptu groups, they don their favourite costumes and indulge in the festivities according to their whims and fancies. The ‘Children’s Carnival’ at the Carnival of Basel 2024 is a testament to the city’s commitment to tradition, revelry, and youthful spirit.

The ‘Guggenmusic’-Concert (7:30 PM to 11:00 PM on 20th February 2024)

Embracing the vibrant sounds of Guggen music, the “Carnival of Basel” comes alive with the Guggen-Concert on Tuesday evening. An array of nearly 60 bands, each equipped with trumpets, trombones, tubas, drums, and percussion, bring well-known melodies to life with a delightful clamour. The bands congregate at Messeplatz at 18:30, beginning their star march towards the city centre via Clarastrasse. Their destination? The three main squares (Barfüsserplatz, Marktplatz, and Claraplatz), where they deliver their eagerly anticipated performances. At the Carnival of Basel 2024 the popular Guggen concerts run from approximately 19:30 until 23:00, but many bands can be found performing in restaurants and other city squares throughout the evening. Meanwhile, the drumming and piping groups retreat to the lanes on the outskirts of the old town, adding an extra layer of charm to this special evening.

Wednesday

The “Endstreich” (20th February 2024)

As the Carnival of Basel approaches its grand finale, the city prepares to bid a fond farewell to the merriment with a stunning display of music, dance, and fireworks. This day, tinged with a bittersweet feeling, signifies the culmination of the festivities while simultaneously leaving a promise of another vibrant carnival in the year to come.

The energy of the carnival intensifies on Wednesday evening, as the active participants gear up for the ‘Endstreich’. Giving it their all, they immerse themselves fully into the revelry, relishing each moment of this carnival highlight. As the clock ticks towards 4:00 AM on Thursday morning, the ‘Cliquen’ and ‘Guggen’ congregate at their designated spots for one last performance, an endearing march or a concluding musical piece, marking the carnival’s end.

This poignant moment signals not only a farewell, but also the anticipation of the next Carnival of Basel. The city, though bidding goodbye to the festivities, is already looking forward to the next year’s carnival, perpetuating the cycle of joy, music, and tradition.

As a ‘larvenmacher’ (mask maker) for the Carnival of Basel, the end of the carnival ushers in a fresh start for me. It’s akin to the feeling others might have on New Year’s Eve. While the conclusion of the carnival brings a sense of loss, it simultaneously sparks the excitement of a new beginning, a new year brimming with opportunities and the anticipation of the next carnival.

During All Three Days

Schnitzelbänke: The Heart of Satire in the Carnival of Basel

An integral part of the Carnival of Basel are the Schnitzelbänke, satirical songs that embody the distilled humour of this unique Swiss celebration. Composed by their authors, these verses serve as a witty examination of the past year’s societal and political events, presented in artful rhymes filled with humour, satire, and bite. The performers, known as Schnitzelbänkler, recite their verses in restaurants and theatres on the Monday and Wednesday evenings of the carnival, and in Cliquenkellern (Clique practice locations) and private houses on Tuesday evening. The term ‘Schnitzelbänke,’ unique to the context of the Basel Carnival, refers to these satirical carnival verses. Almost as important as the verses themselves are the painted images, known as Helge, which are shown with each verse. A good image encapsulates the verse’s subject without giving away its punchline, making this tradition a beloved and eagerly anticipated part of the carnival’s festivities.

Lantern Exhibition: The Radiant Artistry of the Carnival of Basel

From Monday evening, the Lantern Exhibition or ‘Laternenausstellung’ becomes a centrepiece of the Carnival of Basel, transforming the Münsterplatz into a radiant showcase of creativity and satire. The Cliquen, or carnival groups, display their intricately designed lanterns, each one a work of art reflecting a unique theme, or ‘Sujet’. As the sun sets, these lanterns illuminate, casting a magical glow and bringing the square to life, much like during the Morgenstreich.

With over 200 lanterns on display, the exhibition is a magnet for spectators, drawing in carnival-goers and the public alike. These lanterns, adorned with caricatures and verses in local dialect, are the glowing ‘Pièces de résistance’ carried during the Morgenstreich and the Cortège parades on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

The styles and forms of the lanterns vary widely, with some bearing the distinctive artistic flair of Cliquenkünstler (Clique artists), while others are painted by novices. New techniques and innovative materials are increasingly in use, evidencing the evolution of this tradition, which began as caricatures of well-known Basel personalities and has developed into a reflection of art history over the decades.

The Kasernenareal area in Kleinbasel also hosts an exhibition of over 50 units’ wagons and props from Monday to Wednesday morning. As evening falls, and the lanterns light up, a unique atmosphere pervades, with carnival participants and spectators admiring and studying the large and small temporary artworks in detail. This makes the Lantern Exhibition not only one of the most anticipated highlights of the Carnival of Basel but also one of the largest temporary open-air art exhibitions worldwide.

The Unforgettable Experience: The Carnival of Basel 2024

In the heart of Basel, the Carnival of Basel 2024 unfolds as a vibrant tapestry of culture, music, and tradition. From the enchanting ‘Morgenstreich’ to the grand ‘Cortège,’ the joyous ‘Children’s Carnival,’ and the lively ‘Guggenmusic’ concert, each moment reveals the city’s spirited celebration. This guide, highlighting the Carnival of Basel Schedule, intricately details each day, inviting you to immerse yourself in an unforgettable journey through the heart of this extraordinary cultural extravaganza.

As we bid farewell to the Carnival with the poignant ‘Endstreich,’ a display of music, dance, and fireworks, the festivities may conclude, but the spirit of Basel lingers. The Schnitzelbänke’s satirical tunes and the radiant Lantern Exhibition reflect the city’s humor and creativity. Until the next Carnival of Basel Schedule, we carry the memories of this unique celebration in our hearts, eager for the joy, music, and tradition that will once again transform Basel into a living, breathing spectacle of unity and diversity.

 

4:00 AM 19th February 2024
The ‘Morgenstreich’

The “Morgenstreich,” an awe-inspiring tradition of the Carnival of Basel 2024, is a spectacle that commences precisely at four in the morning.

1:30 PM – 6:00 PM, 19th and 21st February 2024
The ‘Cortége’

A standout feature of the Carnival of Basel 2024is the “Cortège”, a grand procession involving around 12,000 costumed participants.

20th February 2024
The ‘Children’s Carnival’

On day three of the Carnival of Basel 2024, the city’s streets become a playground for the little ones.

7:30 PM - 11:00 PM on 20th February 2024
The ‘Guggenmusic’-Concert

Embracing the vibrant sounds of Guggen music, the “Carnival of Basel” comes alive with the Guggen-Concert on Tuesday evening.

Basel, Switzerland ​