I'm copying the English translation provided in a brochure I picked up at the train station. Even after reading it, I'm not quite sure of the meaning behind this strange event. Maybe you can enlighten me!
"Vogel Gryff" (the griffon), "Leu" (the lion) and "Wild Maa" (wild man) are the symbolic figures which represent the three Kleinbasel corporations zum Greifen, zum Rebhaus and zur Hären. At around 11 a.m. the Wild Maa boards a raft. While it drifts down the Rhine to the sound of cannon which call people to the river bank, he pays reverence to Kleinbasel by performing a dance. At a point downstream of the Mittlere Brücke he is awaited by Vogel Gryff and Leu. The three symbolic figures then make their way through the streets of Kleinbasel and perform their special dances until the evening.
Just to be perfectly clear, people were gathered on the bridge and river bank well before we heard the first cannon.
|first view of the raft carrying the Wild Man and cannons|
|Vogel Gryff and Lion wait for the Wild Man on the shore|
|Wild Man carries a tree!|
|going under the bridge where we're waiting and watching the shenanigans|
The Wild Man climbed out on the Kleinbasel side of the river. What was he doing that took him 30 minutes to get up to the bridge? We were impatient and cold! It was supposed to be mild and unfortunately, it was not! I was very disappointed with my choice of footwear.
|police dress like this only one day per year|
|finally, the Wild Man and his tree!|
|Lion and Vogel Gryff on either end of drum line with Wild Man in front|
|Lion watches Vogel Gryff dance|
The three characters took turns "dancing" while facing Kleinbasel and away from the main city. The dance was nothing more than jumping around.
|Lion dances while Vogel Gryff watches|
|finally, the Wild Man dances with his tree!|
|Vogel Gryff and Lion bow to each other|
Since I'm a fan of the Tingueley fountain which is a "must see" in Basel, I've wanted to go the museum dedicated to his other works. This day presented the perfect opportunity.
|Basel's Tinguely fountain - lots of moving parts|
|water comes out of the eyes!|
Inside the Tinguely Museum we found many unusual, but interesting pieces. Most of them have a button to push to set them in motion. I can't attach video, only still photos. If you want to see them in action, I'll go with you to Basel! The city is definitely underrated.
|so many moving parts!|
|not sure why there are animal skulls here|
|another moving fountain outside the museum|
I won't bother with the Vogel Gryff again, but I expect I'll be back to Basel. There is plenty I haven't explored and there's always the Basel Indoor Tennis tournament in October. It was fun in 2015 and is definitely worth a repeat visit!