The Sujet (=subject)
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any "Cliquen" (=group of active carnival members) dress up according to a certain subject, called "Sujet", on carnival. "Sujets" usually deal with events from the previous year, which are made fun of in a humorous way. The different subjects can vary a lot; they are either taken from local politics or from international scandals.
Apart from costumes and masks which fit the subject, the members also make a suitable
lantern, on which they paint colourful pictures and write rhymes dealing with the topic.
These rhymes are not composed in High German but in the dialect of Basel. In addition,
so called "Zeedel" are printed with more rhymes, which are distributed to the visitors
during the procession by the "Vorträblern" (=the ones who walk in front of the groups).
These texts are also written in Swiss German. Although the drummers, piccolo players,
"Tambourmajor" (=drummer conductor), and sometimes also the "Vorträbler" are dressed up
according to their chosen "Sujet", they do not wear the same costumes and masks; but
they often represent just one part of the corresponding subject. The "Tambourmajor"
usually has a more striking costume and a bigger mask, for he is the crucial figure of
Non-local people often have to be quite imaginative and patient, if they want to interpret the "Sujet". The "Sujet" is chosen at different meetings and commissions. Every "Clique" keeps their topic absolutely secret until the carnival starts.