The Fasnacht Series: A Visit to a Cliquekeller

A week before Fasnacht, we had the opportunity to visit a Cliquekeller. 

A Cliquekeller is a clubhouse of sorts for a Clique (group), and is usually housed in a cellar of a nondescript building. A Cliquekeller is not usually easy to find, and intentionally so, as the planning and preparation of each Clique’sSujet” (theme) for the upcoming Fasnacht is kept secret until the day itself.

There are, however, occasions when the Cliquekeller opens its doors to outsiders, namely during Fasnacht itself, when food and drinks are sold as part of the festivities. Sometimes the Cliquekeller is rented out for private functions, as a means of earning side income for the Clique. 

At other times, the Cliquekeller is opened for a small group of outsiders and a member of the Clique gives a brief presentation about the history and traditions of Fasnacht. Mr. TH’s office organised such an event, and we managed to sign up for it.

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The Fasnacht Series: An Introduction

“Die drei scheenschte Dääg”or “the three most wonderful days” (of the year).

That’s how locals describe Fasnacht, the Swiss version of carnival – and one of the most important events of the year in Basel.

For three days beginning Monday after Ash Wednesday, normal life is suspended and the city is filled with weird and colourful costumes, loud music fills the air, and the streets are laden with confetti. More than 12,000 Baslers of all ages participate, and even more line the streets to watch.

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