Discover the Morgenstreich: Basel Carnival’s Breathtaking Beginning

Quick info: The Morgenstreich is basically the grand, city-wide opening to the Carnival of Basel. It starts on Monday 4 pm and ends when the morning sun awakens.

Immerse yourself in the captivating spectacle that is the Morgenstreich, the inaugural event of the Carnival of Basel, also locally known as the Basler Fasnacht. As the city lights extinguish, it gets really quiet for minutes as its finally 4 am – a mesmerising parade of light and music unfolds.

The Morgenstreich: A Tradition Steeped in History

The Morgenstreich, a tradition deeply woven into Basel’s cultural tapestry, signals the start of the carnival. Musicians and lantern bearers adorned in vibrant costumes traverse the city streets, filling the air with the harmonious strains of traditional Basel music.

Basel, Switzerland - the streets are dark - Morgenstreich, the event that starts the Carnival of Basel, is in process.
Gerbergaesslein, Basel, Switzerland – February 19th, 2018. Beautiful red colored hand painted and illuminated main lantern in a narrow alley of the old town during the morgestraich parade. Photo: iStock

Global Appeal: Basel’s Morgenstreich

The Morgenstreich is more than just a local tradition. It’s a cultural extravaganza that draws visitors from around the globe, painting a vivid picture of Basel’s rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Today, it’s the most celebrated event of the Basler Fasnacht, a spectacle of lights and sounds that awakens the city and captivates the senses.

A Visual Feast: The Lanterns of the Morgenstreich

Each lantern carried through the dimly lit streets is a piece of art, meticulously crafted with intricate designs. The radiant glow of the lanterns in the quiet of the morning creates a sight that stays with you long after the event concludes.

Basels streets at the Morgenstreich (the 4am - very early Carnival starting point at the Carnival of Basel. This image shows many lanterns and sillhouetes of participants as well as visitors. The image is symbolic for the article: "Discover the Morgenstreich: Basel Carnival’s Breathtaking Beginning"
Schneidergasse, Basel, Switzerland – February 19th, 2018. Catch a glimpse of the lively Morgenstreich parade as a carnival group, accompanied by their vibrant illuminated lanterns, begins their procession. The Morgenstreich is magic, the whole city holds its breath. The start event of the Carnival of Basel. Photo: iStock

Planning Your Morgenstreich Experience

Intending to witness the Morgenstreich in person? Remember, it’s an early morning affair, so ensure a good night’s rest. Dress warmly to brave Basel’s early morning chill, and as you immerse yourself in the lantern-lit spectacle, respect the occasion’s solemnity by refraining from flash photography and maintaining a quiet demeanour.

Night at Basels Carnival - Morgenstraich. The Morgestraich marks the beginning of the carnival in Basel. At 4 o'clock on Monday morning all the lights in the city center of Basel are turned off for the "Morgestraich". The only light remaining comes from the lanterns of the drum and fife bands called cliques. There are two major types of lanterns, the large parade lanterns that are wheel-mounted or carried by people and the head lanterns that every active participant wears. On the parade lanterns political, social, cultural or economic issues of the past year are addressed in a humorous way. This image is used on the home site of Visit the Carnival of Basel - Tourist Information & international booking guide - English language - Carnival of Basel
The Morgenstreich is the start event of the Carnival in Basel. Photo: iStock/stockwerk

Conclusion: The Morgenstreich and Beyond

The Morgenstreich sets the stage for the three-day Basler Fasnacht filled with parades, concerts, and festivities. It’s more than just a cultural event – it’s a magical experience that leaves an indelible mark on your memories. So, join us in Basel’s Carnival and start your journey with the mesmerising Morgenstreich.

Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter is immersed all year in the Carnival of Basel. Since almost 20 years, Peter is the 'Larvenmacher' (mask maker) at the Atelier Charivari, and a dedicated devotee of the Carnival of Basel's traditions and culture. With nearly two decades of experience, he's been creating distinctive masks at the Larven Atelier Charivari, the family-run Larven Atelier in Basel, Switzerland, established in 1976.
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