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From: 2014.02.27 To: 2014.03.01
Basel's Carnival, Fasnacht, is known as one of the top festivals in the world. It is also one of the most unusual: all the festivities start on the Monday after Mardi Gras. Some say this is a Protestant tongue-in-cheek snub of the Catholics for doing something as silly as Lent. Basel's Carnival has also been called the only Protestant carnival in the world. Whatever the case, all the usual tricks and treats of any good party are here. There are three days of dancing, singing, drinking and dressing up like a clown that go on while many in Europe have already renounced chocolate and alcohol for a month over. The party kicks off with a bonfire and then the cobbled streets of Basel are awash with partiers in carnival costumes and cartoonish masks. Highlights include the Dance of Death (Totentaz) and the Masquerade (Nummenschanz) performances, as well as the street music performed by drummers, flute players and other percussionists. The only thing non-German speakers will miss out on is the infamously ironic and even derogatory jokes that the popular juggling medieval jesters make in their performances. That said, the best way to enjoy the festival is to wander around the streets and enjoy what you see and feel, this shouldn't be too hard since all the bars, restaurants and cafes keep their doors open late. Keep an eye out for rebellious Catholics who couldn’t bear the depravity of Lent.