de drey scheenschte dääge, “the three best days in the year”
If you can’t get to Rio or New Orleans there are all sorts of places around the world to get your pre-Lent party on. Of all the options Switzerland did not come to mind, but across the internet there is a plethora of information on the customs and culture of Mardi Gras in Switzerland.
Similar to the volunteer organizations that tend the Rose Parade floats in California year in and year out, small clubs throughout the Catholic Cantons (states) of Switzerland meet to plan and create elaborate papier-mâché masks and costumes for months. All of the work culminates in 72 hours of parades and parties filled with merriment and great food:
Saucisson de Lyon brioché – Sausage wrapped in a sugared dough isn’t specific to just the Fasnacht festival, but with all of the onion cheesy goodness to follow you may have a meat eater to feed.
Basler Mehlsuppe / Carnival Soup – Beef stock, onion, butter and browned flour seasoned to eat with Red wine and an alternate recipe that uses red wine in the soup.
Fasnachtskiechli – Sugar coated Lenten fried pastery that is a cousin of the funnel cake.
Fastnacht Kuchen – Potato based pastry closer to an American King cake than an individual pastry.
Fastenwähe – A caraway-seed pretzel in a diamond shape.
The stoic and orderly Swiss let is all hang out with a vibrant gusto as they consume all the rich food and drink that is forbidden during Lent so that it does not spoil during the fasting season. Much of the consumption is public, communal, and with alcohol. There are plenty of alcohol free options… but this is not a low calorie festival!
Top 7 spots to party for Mardi Gras around the World (PartyClub.com)
Hotels Packages to party from Carnival to the Asparagus Festival Costumes from past parades (suitable for family viewing)
Helvetia, West Virginia, USA also celebrates following Swiss traditions of the town’s founders.