Chienbäse – Liestal Fire Parade – A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

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Chienbäse – Liestal Fire Parade – A Swiss Tradition

 

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

The Run Up to Basel Fasnacht

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse –  The Liestal Fire Parade

On the Sunday before Morgenstrich, and the beginning of Basel Fasnacht, the town of Liestal close to Basel hosts a traditional event called Chienbäse.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss TraditionThe main attraction is the very impressive Fire Parade in which men, women and children carry huge torches with glowing flames through the main street of the town. At the same there are people pulling wagons of blazing wood – and a very arresting sight it is too.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

NewInZurich photographer Geoff Pegler braved the heat and the crowds to get these photos of the Liesthal Fire Parade to give you an idea of the event.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

As you can imagine it’s quite a spectacle and can get quite hot! In fact it gets very, very hot! Not just for the people taking part in the parade but also for all the onlookers too!

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

If you do go along, make sure that you don’t get too close otherwise your clothes might start melting! You also need to be quite careful with young children too, as it’s very sooty and the air is full of smoke and glowing embers.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Also if you’re not good with crowds this is not the place to be. People flock from all over Switzerland and far beyond to see this event and there are literally thousands of people in the crowds.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

The celebration of Chienbäse is said to have its roots in a pagan spring ritual and the earliest known procession of torch bearers dates to 1869. However, since the 16th century there has been a widespread tradition of bonfires before Lent, some say as a way of burning away evil spirits.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse, apparently is an old German word for “pinewood brooms”. The Liestal Fire Parade is just ahead of Basel’s Fasnacht and it usually starts at 7.15pm and ends at 8.30pm. Of all the carnival events in Switzerland, Basler Fasnacht is the biggest. It takes place each year on the Monday after Ash Wednesday.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Beginning at exactly 4 o’clock in the morning with Morgenstrich it lasts for three days of pretty full on revelling.

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

We’ll leave you with three more powerful images of the event, this time taken by Carmen Sirboiu – where you can clearly see the smoke and the flames and almost feel the heat of the event.Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse - Liestal Fire Parade - A Swiss Tradition

Chienbäse, the Liestal Fire Parade was on 18th February in 2018 and takes place every year on the Sunday after Ash Wednesday. Basel Fasnacht 2019 begins on 11th March 2019 and lasts for three days, ending on 14th March2019. Find out more about Basel Fasnacht here.  To see more some photos of Fasnacht in Basel (and Lucern) see here.

Basel Fasnacht 2020 begins on 2nd March and ends on 5th March 2020.

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Photos by Geoff Pegler

(except last three by Carmen.Photo)

For more information about lifestyle, events and things to do in Zurich and beyond please see our Home Page or our What’s On Page and for regular updates subscribe to the blog.

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