There are so many sorts of carnival customs and no matter whether the greeting-motto sounds HELAU, ALAFF or AHOI. Here are three very special festivities with multiple celebration opportunities.
Burning PINE BROOMES in LIESTAL
BASEL is the carnival place to be in Switzerland and especially the so-called “Morningstraich” is known worldwide among carnival freeks. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basler_Fasnacht
Indeed, ten thousands of spectators come together at 4 a.m. in the morning (always takes place on Monday after Ash Wednesday) to quietly and almost devoutly follow the lantern parade in the dark. For this purpose, all light sources in the city are extinguished by the municipal electricity company. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqGbugKe7Rw&vl=de
In general, whole Basel is in an emergency status from March 2nd till March 4th, 2020. The variety of events is very different and there should be something for everyone. Just click here to get an overview/ first impressions: https://www.basel.com/de/basler-fasnacht
But now let’s talk about the CHIENBÄSE-PARADE in Liestal, which is located only 25 kilometers from Basel. In addition to the usual parade, an exceptional fire spectacle takes place. Pictures say more than 100 words. Take a look at the recording, after about 1:30 minutes the unique flaming-walk starts. That’s how I experienced it in 2017. Surely nobody gets cold and the fire brigade does a great job protecting people and buildings. Some people even like to grill their sausages by the passing fire-brooms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zEbaX9n16o
However, historic tradition dominates all doubts. Lighting a big fire, the power of winter is broken and with burning torches and Chienbäse/ pine-brooms the warming power of the sun is carried into the community. Chienbäse are specially made wooden brooms, with a high content of resin-rich woods (pine-Chien). Already in 1902 respectivly 1924 the first parade with pitch torches and Chienbäse was organized in Liestal.
The move begins at 19:15 hours in the Burgstrasse, then the parade moves through the old town and ends at Gestadeckplatz. After the whole city is darkened, the carnival cliques first move through the city with artistically crafted lanterns. Afterwards, 20 to 100 kg heavy burning wooden brooms and stakes are carried through the city along the route. The highlight are the approximately 20 huge iron fire trucks, whose flames burn particularly high and hot. The inferno ends after about 90 minutes and Liestal is fire-free again.
The darkness, the fire and the smell of smoke create a very special atmosphere. It is strongly recommended to participate with older and less flammable clothing. The Chienbäse and the fires come so close to the audience that sparks may quickly jump on the clothes. The Chienbäse Parade is subject to strict fire protection regulations. Children should not be carried on the shoulders as the heat is strongest up there. For safety reasons the street must not be crossed during the parade.
For those who want to participate: the event takes place on March 1st, 2020 at 7:11 p.m.
SUPER GAUDI „OLD WOMEN-MILL“ – turn old into new
Who would not want that? During carnival, at least the Bavarian male population is very keen in doing so. With the intention of exchanging the (own) old women for a crunchy lady, they advertise themselves as “super heroes”. Well, sometimes it works, sometimes not and some people experience a big surprise “when they finally face the “ejected“ result”. Because … the new sweet-heart can also be a „scratching brush“ or even the mother-in-law … or even a man? Not everyone joins the „milling process“ voluntarily and sometimes a kind of “candidate robbery” takes place (better stay in the second row).
On self-made vehicles and tractors with trailers or handcarts with a torture post on it, the disguised men bring their “wives” to the mill. They hope that after paying a fixed price, they will be get back a new attractive “wife” or perhaps a rejuvenated „version“.
The mill guard entertains the audience with jokes and anectotes. Around the mill, the “master miller” and his three helpers spread straw that the women don’t get hurt when they try to get out/ escape. The “ladies” have to carry a waist belt using a winch to be cranked up onto the platform of the mill and then undergo the makeover inside the mill. Meantime the male candidate is already sitting expectantly in front of the curtain and hopes for a new handsome bride. But the wish is not always coming true.
In 2018 I participated at that funny „Mill-Event“ in Karlstein near Bad Reichenhall. On March 2nd , 2019 a similar carnival-event took place in Freilassing.
However, these spectacles do NOT take place regularly or annually in the communities. Whether something comparable is due in 2020, you have to do some internet research. In case of doubt, simply make a note and reserve this highlight for next year.
Finally, a minor event in the Rhein-Neckar area with “KANGAROO-FEELING“
The carnivalists (especially the princes and princesses of many clubs) will jump on trampolins in the “Sprungbude Heidelberg” on February 13th, 2020 from 19.00 hours for a good cause – and in full regalia/ vestments.
This is how it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD6ECcIYoDE
Of course, watching is for free and as a participant you get an 11% discount on the admission price. The address reads: Harbigweg 1-3 in Heidelberg,
Remarkable what people are having fun with ….