How to behave
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f ten non-locals and independent visitors of carnival in Basel were asked about their impressions, nine of them would certainly be rather disappointed about the activities during " the three most beautiful days". However, looking closer into the matter, it would soon emerge that those people had a completely wrong idea of the carnival in Basel.
"Fasnacht" (=carnival) in Basel cannot be compared to the usual carnival in Germany, nor does carnival in Rio have anything in common with the three-day festivities in Basel. "Fasnacht" is not an event where the whole population of the town spends their time singing and drinking in bars, nor do people dance in the streets until they go into ecstasies. It is certainly true that such a kind of celebration can also be fascinating, but it does not belong to "Fasnacht" in Basel.
People from Basel do not celebrate carnival for the visitors on the pavement, but for themselves. In fact, the whole atmosphere is very special and cannot be described, actually.
The worst that can happen to somebody is that he/she does not think or feel the way people from Basel do; the second worst that he/she does not know or understand Swiss German. This suggests that Basel might be a bit racist; but this is not true at all. Only during "Fasnacht", they do not care much about non-local people, but simply enjoy their carnival instead.
However, visitors are welcome and also appreciated on condition that some basic rules are followed. ( It goes without saying that these rules are also valid for local people although they sometimes seem to forget about them.)
1. visitor should not use exclamations such as "Hellau" or "Wollen wir se reinlasse".
They do not belong to "Fasnacht" in Basel (but to the German carnival) and prove that the
visitor has not understood anything of the kind of "Fasnacht" celebrated in Basel.
2. It should be avoided to pick up confetti from the ground to use it again. On the one hand, it is not hygienic and on the other hand, it suggests that one is rather greedy. Parents should explain this to their children.
3. The Visitors should buy one of the carnival badges. With this money, they directly support this event. The cheapest one costs SFR. 5.-.
4. Even if the streets are sometimes quite crowded, pushing is not the solution. It only makes people nervous.
5. One should not throw confetti at people wearing a costume and a mask. They are usually active carnival members and very often, they can only change their clothes after about 12 hours.
6. One should not interrupt a group of walking carnival members, not even dash across the street between the "Tambourmajor" (=drummer conductor) and the piccolo players. First it is quite rude and secondly, it disturbs the playing of the instruments.
7. Carnival in Basel is called "Fasnacht", neither "Fastnacht", nor "Karneval" or even "Fasching"; and a mask is not called "Maske" but "Larve".
I am convinced that with these basic rules, every visitor will feel at ease and be appreciated at the "Fasnacht" in Basel.