BASEL, Switzerland – Hundreds of revelers braved the near freezing temperatures early on Monday for the Morgestraich, the traditional beginning of Carnival in Basel.
Morgestraich, which loosely translated from Swiss German means “morning joke” or “frolic,” saw hundreds gather before dawn to launch the Carnival festivities.
At the stroke of 4:00 am, when all of the city’s lights were switched off, the march began, and the only illuminations to be seen were the twinkling lights from lanterns being paraded through the streets of Basel, an epa photographer reported.
Revelers played flutes, wore masks and carried lanterns featuring both traditional religious icons as well as satirical representations of modern day politicians such as US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose back-and-forth over the latter’s nuclear ambitions and the resulting tensions have dominated world headlines.
Lanterns are both worn by participants on their heads, while larger Zugslanterne (“parade lanterns”) are mounted on floats and wheeled through the streets.
The 4:00 am start point marks the start of the season’s festivities, with many local restaurants and bars in Basel’s old town remaining open for the coming 72 hours.