Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fasnacht in Luzern

Fasnacht...Karneval...Carnival....Mardi Gras...by any name, it is a huge rowdy party. 

Carnival is the time of year when the bad spirits of the winter are being hunted down and expelled. People dress up as demons, witches, earthly spirits and dreadful animals to enact this scene of symbolic expulsion. The notions 'carnival' (carne = meat) or 'fastnacht' (= at the wake of Lent) also refer to the beginning of the Christian tradition of the 40 day-long fasting (or Lenting) season. (from Wikipedia, a librarian's favorite source)

Here in Switzerland, Fasnacht is not a one day event - more like a week in some places. I think people must want to make sure they are really ready for fasting and the somber period that is supposed to follow. 

I went with a few members of the Zurich International Women's Association to one of the parades in Luzern. Ironically enough, someone I knew from Brussels lives in Luzern and met us there! It is indeed a very small world. 

Luzern is a very beautiful small town. I hadn't been there since 2000 or so. We didn't have time to do anything but see the parade. I will definitely be back to Luzern to soak in some of its beauty and to explore its charm. Anybody want to come with me?

the famous wooden bridge

building on the hill is now a hotel, but sadly no public transportation goes up there

I asked whether people get one really good costume and wear it every year. "Oh no. They will start working on next year's costume tomorrow!" Many of the people who just came to watch the parade were also in costume. This is mostly a picture blog to show the kinds of costumes people and organizations put together. As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. 


On the way to our cafe reservation, we came across lots of people already partying and not waiting for the official festivities to start.

We also saw groups waiting.

the gold skulls would eventually be worn

masks for sale?

"don't mess with me"

Finally, the parade began...

taking a picture of the spectators as we take a picture of the parade!

kids watching the parade in costume


Band members are wearing masks with large mouth openings - the whole mouthpiece goes inside the mask.

 Not all costumes were hideous, just the majority.

for Alicia!

Swiss watch makers

"Miss Understanding"

tentacles are stuffed pairs of tights!

what's a parade without a politician?


The best float...

Mary Poppins?

this was the best musical group - sitting helps!


a welcome change from ghoulish faces 


trap sets on wheels!

 Goodbye Fasnacht parade - it's been fun

 Floats from former years hang from the ceiling in the train station. 
Farewell Luzern. I'll be back.