Art and Satire: Understanding the “Sujet” of the Carnival of Basel 2025

At its core, the Carnival of Basel 2025 will be a platform for creative expression and social commentary. Every year, each clique chooses a “Sujet,” a theme that guides their costumes, lanterns, and Schnitzelbängg. Often satirical, the Sujet provides a glimpse into Basel culture and Swiss perspectives on global and local events.

The “Sujet”: Art Meets Satire

Each Sujet is a masterful blend of artistry and satire. It’s a chance for cliques to express their views on current affairs and social issues, transforming their ideas into visual and auditory spectacles. The themes can range from political events and public figures to social trends and local happenings.

A Canvas of Light: The Lanterns

The Sujet comes to life in the hand-painted lanterns displayed in the Lantern Exhibition. These are not mere decorations; each lantern is a carefully crafted work of art that tells a story. Illuminated from within, they fill Münsterplatz with a warm glow, their vivid colors and intricate designs enchanting visitors. When not adding to the gallery, this huge exhibition of art, then the lanterns are drawn and carried by the cliquen through the streets.

The Sounds of Satire: The Schnitzelbängg

The Schnitzelbängg, rhymed verses sung or recited by the cliques, are another expression of the Sujet. These verses are packed with wit, humor, and biting commentary, performed to the beat of drums and the tune of piccolos. Listening to the Schnitzelbängg is an entertaining way to gain insights into Swiss views on the world.

Wearing the Sujet: The Costumes

The cliques also express their Sujet through their costumes. From the Waggis’s playful attire to the Alti Dante’s antique-style costumes, each outfit is a visual representation of the theme. The Larve (masks) add another layer of whimsy and satire, creating a visually striking spectacle.

The Carnival of Basel 2025 promises to bring a fresh wave of creativity and satire. As we anticipate the reveal of this year’s Sujet, we can look forward to a thought-provoking, entertaining, and artistically rich carnival.

Picture of 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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