The Faces of Fasnacht

After waxing poetic about the beauty of Switzerland’s gray skies, which dominate throughout the entire winter, what was this?  Just yesterday, there was a perfectly blue sky, not a cloud in sight, not nearly freezing temperatures and the streets of Zürich overflowing with people, reminiscent of the summer’s wild Street Parade.  You’d think I put my summer album in Photoshop and simply added a few jackets here and there, and whitened the mountains in the distance a bit.  Restaurants with tables outside filled, people sitting in the sun reading, families picnicking, friends playing catch with a frisbee or kicking around a soccer ball.  Runners like myself taking advantage as well, no need for extra layers, hat or gloves – just a bandana to wipe the sweat from my brow.

And what perfect timing for that beautiful weather.  Perhaps a thank you is in order – to the Mardi Gras gods of course!  It’s Carnival here in Switzerland, Fasnacht as they call it. And I know, I know, Zürich is not quite the most happening spot for Carnival.  Better off partying the nights away in Lucerne or admiring the customs and traditional music in Basel.  That will be Fasnacht 2010 for me.  And I will be there, at 4am in Basel when it all begins… next year.  This year, I stayed loyal to my new hometown.  Carnival in Zürich it was.  And while it may not live up to Rio di Janeiro or New Orleans, or even its fellow Swiss cities, there was still fun to be had, lots of loud music to enjoy, colorful costumes of all sorts to gaze at and as always, tasty delights to devour.

The gray skies came back for today’s parade, but I don’t think anyone noticed.  They were all too busy admiring each other’s creative outfits, fun makeup and props.  Each group that marched through the old town had a specific theme and costume to go with. Crowds lined the street to watch, many dressed up themselves, the theme there being “anything goes.”  Put a puppet on your head, and you’re ready for Fasnacht!

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Children took part as well, some dressed up like the adults, marching along in the parade.  Others watched, dressed up as clowns, various animals or simply wearing funny wigs.  No matter the outfit, they were all armed with confetti!  Just like Bern’s Onion Festival, kids had their hands at all times in huge bags of colorful confetti.  They threw it on the groups marching by in the parade, on their parents and friends and on just about everyone that came within a 10 foot radius!

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And oh the food!  Any festival or event in Zürich is a good excuse to fill the streets with yet more wurst stands, tables piled high with candied nuts and cakes, raclette stands and large vats of Glühwein.  Just make sure to get your fill on Fasnachtchüechli, rounds of dough flattened and deep fried, then covered in powdered sugar.  A Carnival specialty not to be missed,… nor properly pronounced!

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9 Responses to “The Faces of Fasnacht”

  1. Steve says:

    Might not be Mardi Gras New Orleans style, but your pictures sure make it look like a whole lot of fun. Zurichites (or whatever they’re/you’re called) certainly seem to know how to party. Awesome shots! Thanks.

  2. Anita says:

    Wow!!! I just discovered your blog – AMAZING! I love what I see and have a LOT of reading/catching up to do. I am from Switzerland and teach French and German at a college in the US and will show this blog entry and its wonderful pictures to my students as we were just speaking about Fasnacht in Switerland and Germany. Excellent timing. Merci beaucoup!

    A question: I was trying to subscribe to your blog with Google Reader, but cannot find a RSS link. Am I just not finding it or is it really not there?

  3. andrea says:

    Beautiful photos! They truly bring me back. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your world with us….especially me, always longing to experience anything German.

    Frohe Fastnacht!

    Andrea

  4. Tammie says:

    And thanks for sharing with me — desperate to view sweets of any flavor, shape or form. The row of pastries look divine. And the party, well, it looks like a great one! — Tammie

  5. Leigh says:

    We had a great time on Sunday too and ate at that very raclette stand you show in one of the last photos!

  6. Lady Painter says:

    How nice to see those “rababou” faces here ! Rababou is the name we give them in the canton of Fribourg. And you made those pictures in Zurich – our “best ennemy” actually – sportive !
    And bravo for the magnifiques pictures you made in Luzern !
    Take care !

  7. Kerrin says:

    Anita, I’m so glad you discovered MyKugelhopf, and what perfect timing for your class. Sounds like your students have fun lessons! 😉

    RSS reader is there for sure, you can see the little orange icon in the far right of the URL on top of the webpage. You can click on it there and select Google Reader if you prefer that option. Or you can go directly into your Google Reader page, go to Browse and do a search for MyKugelhopf as well. It’s there!! And I’m so glad it will be on your list, thanks!

    Steve, the locals here call themselves Zürchers, but hey – Zurichite was quite creative. They do know how to party, but just wait until I visit Lucerne’s Fasnacht in 2010, I hear that’s where the real party is!!

  8. Stéphanie says:

    Je suis déçue… aucune photo d’Olivier et toi déguisés et errant dans cette foule bigarrée 🙁

  9. Anita says:

    Oh thank you Kerrin, I have found the RSS link now. I have never seen it in that location before, or rather I have never looked there before. Learned something new!
    Your blog will be part of my and my students’ regular culture intake from now on.

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