When I drove into town yesterday, this is what I saw… notice the underwear hanging from lines across the street. This is to celebrate Weiberfastnacht (or simply Fastnacht). It is the official last night of the Carnival season and the beginning of the Lenten season of “fasting.” It is also the night that, traditionally, the women take control. It is celebrated by a rule-free all-night party.
We are used to the entire Carnival season from our time in Bonn, but the underwear is a new twist for us… must be some sort of regional or local tradition. Either way, they had a major party last night in Basel… with incredible marching bands criss-crossing the city (and each other) and playing every musical style possible - and doing it VERY WELL!!! - culminating in all the lights in the city being turned off at 4:00am. Then you only hear the high flutes.
We accidentally ended up in Basel for the celebration last year while house hunting. It was amazingly fun to watch the bands… so much talent!