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Basel Part 5: A Closer Look at the Lanterns



Outside the parades, the big lanterns are on display at Münsterplatz. More or less all Cliquen bring their lanterns up there and leave them standing until they need them again. This is the chance to have a closer look at them.

Treat this like an art exhibition. These lanterns are artworks. Renowned artists in the city take pride in designing them. Cliquen usually have ‘their’ artist with a distinct style. Styles differ widely, but all have in common that the images are rich in details. Often little comments have been written onto them Clique members.

The lantern expresses and illustrates the Clique’s Sujet of the year. They are meant to deliver a message. Be prepared that there are no taboos in the selection of the sujets. No one cares about "political correctness". They show how people actually think.


Depending on the respective topic, some are funny, some are satirical and ironical, while others are downright bitter and scary.

There is also an exhibition of carts and requisites. These are on display in a different place, at the arsenal. But I found that of less interest, hence I won’t go into further details.

Back to the lanterns. In here I am showing you some examples. Most of these date from 2010, some from 2006 and 2014.

Barrack Obama as the new Messiah

Scientists create the perfect child

Invasion of High German words endangers the Swiss German language, and a detail of a different lantern also dealing with the fear of us Germans. A widespread topic.

Hedgehog Switzerland: curled up into a spiky ball like hedgehogs do, the Swiss want to protect and defend their country a gainst anything coming in from outside.

Italy under Caesar Berlusconi



Alcohol and its dangers

A vision of Fasnacht in 2060, islamized

Naked hiking, a new trend among nudists

Henhouse Swiss parliament

"Bauer sucht Frau": a popular trashy format on German TV, a dating show for single farmers.

Walking the city at night is dangerous for women

Rhine bank in summer

Goddess Konsumia (consumerism - thanks Toonsarah for the correct translation)



A really tough one.
In 2009/10 this horrible story was all over the media. A father imprisoned his adolescent daughter in the basement of his house for more than 20 years, sexually abused and raped her, she bore him seven children. Three of the kids stayed with her in the cellar prison, the others were taken in as, allegedly, foster children by the parents.
And a mother who would close eyes and mouth, and keep the family secret instead of interfering and helping the victim, her daugher. The opinion of the neighbourhood was more important than the tortures the young woman went through - this aspect is the one they criticize most. They entitled the Sujet, "It is among us and it stays among us."

Posted by Kathrin_E 01:38 Archived in Switzerland Tagged basel alemannic_fastnacht Comments (6)

Offenburg Jester Meeting 2019


In 2019, the older one of Offenburg's two jester guilds are celebrating their 175th anniversary. Reason enough to hold a jester meeting. Being members of VSAN, the association of Swabian-Alemannic jester guilds, theirs was classified as one of the three official big VSAN landscape meetings of the year.

About 40 member guilds joined, many of them traditional and well known, plus some smaller guilds from Offenburg's surroundings. They all came with large groups, so the parade took at least 3 hours, despite the relatively short list in the programme.

It was mid February, but the organizers as well as the spectators were granted the most glorious, sunny and mild weather conditions this month is capable of. A perfect day for a festive parade.

I came over by train from Karlsruhe. The train was a bit late and I missed the beginning of the parade, hence I have to admit using an old photo here to introduce the hosting guild. But I have presented the guild and its main figure, the Spättle, already in a previous blog entry

Althistorische Narrenzunft Offenburg, Spättle

Narrenzunft Waldsee


A funny witch guild, ready to put on a show and do some acrobatic tricks, like pole jumping runs with their broomsticks, and building pyramids.






Wylägerer Fasnachtsgesellschaft Unterägeri, Switzerland

A Guggemusik band is a must in Switzerland, these came as fancy dragons. But the guild's Häs figure is the Nüssler. Loaves of bread, not sure if real and how old and hard, are stuck onto his broomstick.

Narrenzunft Aulendorf



Aulendorf is famous for its witch guild, probably one of the largest. Their striking feature is the colourful headscarf, embroidered with witch symbols.


An even more striking feature, which leaves an impact on all spectators who are standing with the wind in their face, is the wheeled house they are taking along. I have no idea what it is that they are burning on that fireplace, but it spreads a LOT of stinking smoke. I was lucky this time to be on the right side...

Trommgesellenzunft Munderkingen

Mocking the military is part of carnival all over, also in the Rhineland version. In the lands of Alemannic Fastnacht many guilds, too, have military troops in colourful uniforms. Some of them have a cannon with them - and beware if they stop next to you, hold your ears and keep your mouth open until the BANG is over.


Otherwise, it's all about bread in Munderkingen. The masks carry baskets of bread on their heads, necklaces made from bread rolls, and so on. These are not real bread, though, they are fakes made from wood. And they have those funny witches with their oversized headcovers.


Narrenzunft Markdorf



The Hänsele is a typical figure of the Bodensee area. Its origins are in Überlingen, and the Markdorfer version cannot deny its close geographical vicinity.

The typical Hänsele mask is made from fabric, with a pointed nose. They carry Karbatschen, those whips which are basically long thick ropes with short handles. They are masters in whipcracking just like their older cousins in Überlingen. (Keep your distance...)

Cute-faced foreest spirits also come to life in Markdorf.


Narrenzunft Wolfach


Colourful with a wide variety of masks. Wolfach is probably the place with the largest number of parades, and in addition to that the Wolfachers are always out and about to visit neighbouring places.


Krakeelia Waldkirch



The blue and yellow Bajass is a classical jester figure based on the Italian commedia dell'arte. Friendly laughing fellows they are, and they come in all sizes.

But there are also the witches from Kandel, Waldkirch's house mountain, in their guild. Just like any other witch guild they are always prone to mischief.

Narrenzunft Haslach


The most popular figures in Haslach, that's certainly Ranzengarde, a troop of marching guards in wine barrels.

The name of the town bears a reference to hazelnuts, or can at least be interpreted as such.

The hazel bush is shown in the town's coat of arms, and during Fasnet they come to life.



Narrenzunft Gengenbach


More about Gengenbach in a previous blog entry

Karnöffelzunft Willisau, Switzerland



These fellows with the funny name were new to me. "Karnöffel" almost sounds like "Kartoffel" (potato), and the faces show a certain resemblance. There are wild figures in their guild, but also laughing townspeople. The most spectacular sight, though, is the group of walking trees. They are based on an old legend about the spirits in a nearby mountain ridge. And there is the terrible Stadttier, a ghost in the shape of a dog, who is led and guarded in chains by the night watchman. The local Guggemusik band uses his image as their logo.



Katzenzunft Messkirch



The cat guild of Messkirch is widely considered one of the most beautiful animal Häser in the Alemannic Fastnacht. They look certainly amazing. I am a bit reluctant towards the (real) cat furs that are part of the Häs, though. The guild states that all furs come from legal sources and that all these cats had died a natural death before their fur was taken. I am leaving it at that.

A much simpler and cheaper Häs, nevertheless impressive, is the Messkirch bat, created from a bedcloth, some ribbons and other household items.

Narrengericht Stockach


Stockach's jester council is the most famous feature. The Hänsele in typical Bodensee style, the ladies in traditional dress with the golden lace bonnets and some other figures are also essential parts of Stockach's Fasnet.

Narrenzunft Rottenburg


Rottenburger Ahlande, witches and Pompele

Kübelesmarkt Bad Cannstatt



Bad Cannstatt is now a suburb of Stuttgart but used to be an independent town. Its citizens proudly display some legends from their history, although these may lead to the conclusions that the old Canstatters were not the brightest candles on the Christmas tree, so to say.

Once on a foggy day the guards spotted approaching French troops in the fields and feared a siege of their town... but when the fog lifted, the 'soldiers' turned out to be the stumps of pollard willows, in local dialect called "Felbeköpf".

Another story, which explains the presence of the moon faces, tells of an alarm raised by the local fire brigade when they thought that their steeple was on fire, but the glow was in fact caused by reflected moonlight. The fire brigade is present in the parade, too.

Poppele-Zunft Singen


Pflumeschlucker Bonndorf


The "Plum Swallowers" of Bonndorf are referring to, just like the Cannstatter figures, a certain reputation concerning the villagers' lack of genius. Bonndorf is located high up in the Black Forest and has a rough climate where fruit would not grow. When the Bonndorfers were given the first plums ever, they tried to swallow them in whole, pit and stem and everything. This anecdote lead to the creation of a funny Häs with a plum stuck in the mask's mouth. The umbrella is an inevitable utensil in the mountain climate.

The jester council does not walk in the parades, they ride on a horse-drawn tree trunk equipped with saddles. I am not sure how comfortable this actually is, but one of them was sound asleep despite all the hassle and noise...



Narrenzunft Donaueschingen


A beautiful couple from Donaueschingen

Narrenzunft Haigerloch

The Butz is the typical figure in Haigerloch and other areas in Swabia.

Narrenzunft Schwenningen



Hölzlekönig is a solitary figure referring to the once tallest fir tree in Germany (they sai), which unfortunately had to be felled, only the still majestic stump remained.

In addition to that, Schwenningen has figures who cannot deny their close vicinity to neighbouring Villingen and its ancient traditions, and also the cute Moosmulle, a Häs for females only.

Narrenzunft Furtwangen


White Narros with painted Häs, typical for these eastern parts of the Black Forest.

Posted by Kathrin_E 02:05 Archived in Germany Tagged carnival baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Zell am Harmersbach: Disney & Co 2019


Back in Zell once more... They are and remain my all-time favourites. The 2019 Motto was "Disney & Co." and once more the people of the town's eight neighbourhoods proved their imagination.
The moderators - the usual two crazy guys, you remember? - this time appeared as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Perhaps the most hilarious disguise they have ever done...




Zeller Fasend reflected in a sousaphone shell... Grachsymphoniker are a Guggemusik band from Basel. They are friends with the jester guild of Zell and appear in the Sunday parade every year.


This year the Tambourmajor (conductor) resembled a deep-sea diver while the others were a mix of something extraterrestrial with weird machinery and a circus uniform.



The jester guild filled the street with a sea of colours. Bändelenarros dance to the sound of the jester march and swing their Saublodere over their heads.


They even made a Newspaper Narro this year. This is how it all started, before they switched to that coloured paper they had used newspapers to create a Häs from material that was cheap and easily available. An interesting way of recycling, or shall I say upcycling?



But let's start with the Disney.

One group with mostly children came as MICKEY MOUSE and DONALD DUCK. Our moderators were overjoyed to spot their relatives in the parade.




BAMBI - impersonated by the inhabitants of the quarter nicknamed "Little Paris" (no idea why).

Bad hunters were on the prowl.
But I assure you that no deer, bunny or skunk was harmed. The hunters were too busy with the beer barrel.




MARY POPPINS and her Chimney Sweep were dancing in the street.

(It pay off to stand right in front of the stage where the moderators and guild council are, because this is where the groups will put on their best show.)

The movie COCO inspired these guys to impersonate the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos, the holiday of the dead. My award for the best makeup goes to them!




POCAHONTAS and her tribe







LION KING. Love the hyenas...



PETER PAN and Captain Hook were fighting on the top deck of the pirate ship, accompanied by a crowd of Tinkerbell fairies and more Peters.



This group chose to appear as an old-fashioned FILM CREW, complete with sound and camera, and plenty of puns and jokes in the details.

The German word "Rolle", for example, could mean a "role" in a movie or play, but can also be translated as "roll", and that's why the actresses carry the roll of toilet paper.



ALADDIN came on a magic carpet (rather low-flying, though...) and with a giant Magic Lamp.
The participants look somehow 'high' in that smoke...

Very different spectators attended the parade.

Eckwaldhexen were taking part as usual.

The guild council and Mickey Mouse on stage

Posted by Kathrin_E 00:24 Archived in Germany Tagged baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (1)

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