Cortège (=procession)

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Deutscher Text

he procession takes place on Monday and Wednesday afternoon. In Basel it is called "Cortège". The drummers and piccolo players as well as their conductors (=Tambourmajor) are wearing the same costumes according to the chosen subject of their group. This subject is also painted on their lanterns. Texts which deal with this very topic are printed on colourful sheets of paper and are distributed to the spectators by the "Vorträblern" who walk in front of each group.

The subjects usually deal with things which happened in the previous year and are made fun of in rhymes. In contrast to the "Morgenstreich", different kinds of groups also join in for the first time on Monday afternoon. The "Waggis" (= typical figure of the carnival in Basel) on the wagons distribute oranges, mimosas (yellow flower), sweets and a lot more to the visitors on the pavements. The "Waggis" stands for the raw and rude. He is armed with confetti, called "Räppli". Young women, girls, or visitors without carnival badges are often "attacked" by the "Waggis". If somebody is begging too many things from the "Waggis", it happens, that he takes her on the wagon and fills her up with confetti.

Another thing is the "Guggen" music (played with brass instruments). The rhythmical songs put people in a good mood. These pieces of music derive from different kinds of music, such as Yankee Doodel or even the latest hits. Something which is getting rarer and rarer is the so called "Chaise". A "Chaise" is a horse-drawn carriage. The usually beautifully dressed ladies in the carriage distribute sweets and mimosas (flowers) to the visitors. A typical costume of the ladies is the so called "Alti Dante" (=old aunt), also a traditional figure of carnival in Basel. The procession tour is a circle and is done in both directions. It varies every year a bit. The typical one goes from Kleinbasel over the Mittlere Brücke (Middle Bridge) to Schifflände and from there to the Markplatz (Market Place), to the Barfüsserplatz up to the Bankverein; after that, it continues over the Wettsteinbrücke (Wettstein Bridge) to Kleinbasel again (it is also possible in the opposite direction).
At different places of the tour, one can find members of the committee who give the conductors ("Tambourmajor") of every group a big badge on Monday, and on Wednesday a bunch of flowers.

Because of the great number of visitors and active carnival members, there might be some delays during the Cortège from time to time. Above all if it is warm, such delays can be quite unpleasant because one is sweating under the mask and in addition, some instruments are rather heavy to carry. The musicians with wind instruments have an additional problem, because they have to go on playing even if the group cannot move. Thus, sooner or later, they really need to have a break in order to get a deep breath and recover a bit. However, there have been less delays the last few years because of some new tours. So, the groups can have a break every forty five minutes.


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