During my February trip to Switzerland we had the unique experience of going to Fasnacht in Lucerne. This is the Swiss version of Mardi Gras and is unlike anything we've ever seen. I could try to describe this until I am blue in the face, but the pictures are the only way to truly describe this experience. The big party starts Thursday night (when we went) and goes until the following Tuesday morning. (For Brad's finale to Fasnacht, a Fasnacht band played in the cafe under his apartment all Monday night until 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. That Tuesday was not a fun day at work for him.) The usually polite and reserved Swiss are anything but during this long weekend.
To enjoy Fasnacht you wear whatever costume appeals to you (the most popular are covered in some sort of fur, it seems), wander around the Swiss city of your choice, listen to the bands, buy a brat and some coffee with schnapps, and try to stay warm. Simple enough.
Brad's coworker, Heidi, lent us some costumes from a previous year. So, hippy and hop hop were us. These were by far the most normal costumes we saw. I'm going to guess that it was 15 degrees outside - maybe. That could be generous. Even with tights, socks and boots I quickly couldn't feel my feet as we walked all over Lucerne. We finally had to get some hot tea and dessert to warm up.
Brad's coworker, Martin
Brad's coworker, Heidi, and her husband in their full chicken costumes. They live for Fassnacht!
The highlights of Fasnacht are the Fasnacht bands. These are groups of people, not necessarily professional musicians, who practice all year long for this weekend. They then don elaborate costumes and march through the tiny, windy streets playing slightly out of tune music. (This could be due to playing through the costumes.) Below, I caught some bands as they marched past.
There were a few sets of risers set up around town where the bands took turns playing.
This was my favorite band. The Spacemen who played Queen. Um....Yeah....How could I possibly describe this? The best part are the chickens dancing in front of me. And the anonymous bunny to my left.
Sunday, while driving around in Ticino, we were often foiled by streets closed for parades. People in costumes were still everywhere. I don't know how they have the energy for five days of this!