Fasnacht in Switzerland

Our costumes at a Saturday night party (I'm the black swan!)
Before I moved to Switzerland, I had never heard of "Fasnacht" and I didn't really pay attention to Carnival in Europe - but oh. my. goodness. Fasnacht in Luzern has to be one of Europe's best kept secrets - it is a RIOT. Quite literally, actually. For 1 week this normally sedate, courteous, rule following and clean country goes insane. All of that recklessness held in the rest of the year? Unleashed. While celebrations are held throughout Switzerland, Luzern is known for hosting one of the craziest weeks.

(The above pictures were taken during a day parade by my friend Audrey!)

While celebrations can start as early as the January/February, It all officially starts at 5 am (oopsy, edited from 5:30 - you know I wasn't up!) on the morning of Dirty Thursday where Schwanenplatz in Luzern is packed with people in costume, gluhwine and beer is flowing, band music is playing...and it basically doesn't stop until Fat Tuesday. People call off of work for this week solely to spend the time drinking in costume. It's bizarre. I didn't attend the early morning kick off but I did hear the marching band going down the street even in my little village! There's basically two ways to experience Fasnacht - you either leave on vacation to avoid marching band music for a week straight OR if you can't beat them, join them =)

Pictures from my villages celebration
Even the surrounding villages have celebrations, including mine =) I love my town's celebration because it's a little more low-key - you don't have to wait in line forever to get food and drinks and everyone seems to know everybody so there's a laidback coming together vibe.

Anyway, it is totally mental, but if you're up for it - it would be an amazing time to visit Luzern! Last year M and I casually observed the madness but this year we jumped in! Sink or swim! (or get confetti thrown on  you if you're not in costume) =)