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Liestal, Switzerland
Chienbäse - Fire wagon in the Chienbäse parade
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade: the witch wagon
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade: the fires are approaching
Chienbäse - Chienbäse parade: Lanterns at the beginning

Chienbäse Liestal Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Chienbäse: Liestal's Fire Carnival Jan 26, 2017
The main event in Liestal's Fasnacht is the fire parade, named Chienbäseumzug after the Chienbäse, the burning brooms made from pine logs that are carried through the old town. It takes place on Sunday after Ash Wednesday in the evening, in other words: the night before Morgestraich in Basel. If you don't mind getting little sleep you can easily combine both events.

The cliques with the illuminated big lanterns march at the beginning of the night parade. However, they play a secondary role, unlike in Basel, because everyone is waiting for the fires to come. From afar you can already spot the shine reflected on the facades and in the windows of the houses and tension is rising.

The parade involves around 300 Chienbäse and some 20 iron fire wagons and baskets. It is really something, an archaic spectacle (although it is just 110 years old), scary and impressive at the same time.

The burning brooms are carried on one shoulder. Each of them weighs between 25 and 100 kilograms. A look into the faces of the

carriers shows how hard it is to carry them. They wear helmets and protective jackets, but they are nevertheless glad to have some water poured over them by the firemen at every stop. You'd think this is the kind of dare that young guys do, but there are people of all ages participating, men and women.

The most spectacular element of the, however, parade are the fire wagons. There are more than 20 iron wagons loaded with piles of pinewood logs that are set ablaze. They are pulled by 10-16 people and their flames go as high as the roofs of the houses. They cause an immense heat, and when they stop the spectators have to duck and cover up.

The parade enters the old town through the gate underneath the Törli, the medieval gate tower. In between the groups, the fire brigade gives the interior of the passage a thorough shower with three or four hoses to keep the wooden parts wet and prevent any smouldering. One wagon will stop after passing the Törli, be pushed backwards through the gate tower and pulled back in. These are the Törli-Waggis, the one and only group that have the privilege to pass the gate three times instead of only once.

When: Sunday after Ash Wednesday, the evening before the Morgestraich in Basel. Start is at 19.15 - be there in time. Thanks to the date and the frequent train connections it can easily be combined with a visit to Morgestraich in Basel if you don't mind getting little or no sleep that night.

Where: Start and lighting of the brooms and wagons is at the upper end of Burgstraße. The route goes along Burgstraße through the Törli (gate tower), along Rathausstraße, the main street of

the old town, then up Rebgasse and Gerbergasse to Gestadeckplatz. See the map on the website of the Chienbäse-Verein.

Please read the safety rules (see separate tip). Watching in Rathausstraße is not for the faint-hearted. You would not get me in there even if you offered me a million - no way. Thanks to

local friends who organized our visit we were able to watch from a room on the third floor of a house, but even behind closed windows we felt the heat of the fires.
Fire wagon in the Chienbäse parade
Chienbäse parade: Lanterns at the…
Chienbäse parade: the fires are a…
Chienbäse parade
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