Güdismontag in Luzern: Carnival Rules!

Lucerne Travel Blog

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Vierwaldstättersee panorama

It is a sunny pre-spring day on the shores of Vierwaldstättersee. The mountain panorama is as beautiful as can be. Snow-capped peaks are reflected in the calm waters of the lake. Cruise boats are waiting for passengers – but today no one cares about lake cruises and mountain views.

There is something in the air. The streets, the quays, the bridges are packed with people, many of them in fancy dress. Fantastic masks roam the streets. The original paintings on Chapel Bridge have disappeared – in fact they are just covered in order to protect them. Insted, the bridge is decorated with Fasnacht pictures. Stalls have been set up that sell food and booze. Bands are playing on the river bank. Guggemusik mixes with the hammering noises from many loudspeakers.

A Gugge band playing in the streets
People are already lining up along the route of the big parade. One has to come early to find a good spot.

At 2 p.m. the Monday parade starts. The best place to watch it is on Seebrücke, the big bridge across the mouth of river Reuss. Especially on a day like this when the photographer appreciates the bright sunlight. I found the bridge less crowded in the middle than at the ends, just mentioning.

Already before the official beginning small masked groups are walking the course. Even the Royal Family is there, with a giant birthday cake for the 90th…

The official beginning of the parade are riders with the banners of the four main guilds and societies that form Luzern‘s Fasnacht Committee (Fidelitas Lucernensis, Maskenliebhber-Gesellschaft, Wey-Zunft, Zunft zu Safran).

Wey-Frosch, and the summit of Rigi in the background

The parades on Thursday and Monday are identical except for the leaders. While Thursday is the day of Brother Fritschi and his wife Fritschine and the Safran guild, Monday is ruled by the Wey Frog. The Monday parade is led by Wey-Zunft, whose symbol is the giant frog. They have the prominent place in the first part of the parade which Brother Fritschi and his entourage hold on Thursday. The huge green Frog has his own cart, pulled by members of the guild in frog costumes. The president of the guild is driven in a splendid horse-drawn carriage.

Then come the 39 numbers of the parade, each of them listing a large guild or band that often consists of several parts. In other words, the whole parade lasts about 3 hours. Many participating groups have huge carts.

The Wild Boar cart going to war
Each of them chooses a topic that costumes and cart refer to. Some are political others simply meant to entertain. Small independent groups march in between. The self-made masks and costumes are fantastic. Guggemusik bands are an essential part. They will have their biggest event on Tuesday night.

A frequent topic this year are fantasy figures, Star Wars, fighting roboter creatures à la World of Warcraft and similar – not my world so I do not know how to call them correctly;-) The kind of pictures that you see on the t-shirts of heavy metal fans, you get the idea. Well, let the photos speak for themselves. After a dozen or so groups in this style it becomes slightly boring, though…

Is Luzern‘s Fasnacht worth seeing? It certainly is. I came over from Germany for the day so I got to see little more than the Monday parade, though. So my experience is just a snapshot of a small part of it. Some day I would like to stay for the entire six days and join the entire sequence of events, starting with the Big Bang and the arrival of the Fritschi Family on Thursday morning and ending with the Guggemusik Monstercorso and the Farewell Fritschi ceremony on Tuesday night.

E rüüdig schöni Fasnacht to everyone!

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Vierwaldstättersee panorama
Vierwaldstättersee panorama
A Gugge band playing in the streets
A Gugge band playing in the streets
Wey-Frosch, and the summit of Rigi…
Wey-Frosch, and the summit of Rig…
The Wild Boar cart going to war
The Wild Boar cart going to war
Want to go on a lake cruise? No, n…
Want to go on a lake cruise? No, …
Resting on the lakeshore
Resting on the lakeshore
Kapellenbrücke
Kapellenbrücke
Fasnacht pictures on Kapellenbrüc…
Fasnacht pictures on Kapellenbrü…
Fasnacht pictures on Kapellenbrüc…
Fasnacht pictures on Kapellenbrü…
Quays and bridges are buzzing with…
Quays and bridges are buzzing wit…
A musical group marches over Kapel…
A musical group marches over Kape…
Portrait
Portrait
Royal Family (1)
Royal Family (1)
Royal Family (2)
Royal Family (2)
Royal Family (3)
Royal Family (3)
Surfer Boy
Surfer Boy
The flags of the four guilds and s…
The flags of the four guilds and …
Wey-Frosch, the symbol of the Wey …
Wey-Frosch, the symbol of the Wey…
Horse-drawn carriage with the head…
Horse-drawn carriage with the hea…
Portrait
Portrait
Clown couple
Clown couple
Fidelitas were celebrating a big a…
Fidelitas were celebrating a big …
Nothing is holy in the Fasnacht. C…
Nothing is holy in the Fasnacht. …
Guggemusik band dressed as Polar B…
Guggemusik band dressed as Polar …
Two cuddly teddies
Two cuddly teddies
The martial wild boar cart has a c…
The martial wild boar cart has a …
The martial wild boar cart has a c…
The martial wild boar cart has a …
Light Wars. This group is critiz…
"Light Wars". This group is criti…
Were in Switzerland so there must…
We're in Switzerland so there mus…
Gugge band
Gugge band
Another satanic santuary on wheels.
Another satanic santuary on wheels.
Luzern as Venice
Luzern as Venice
Cat band
Cat band
Swiss Guard
Swiss Guard
Dia de los Muertos, Mexican holida…
Dia de los Muertos, Mexican holid…
Dia de los Muertos, Mexican holida…
Dia de los Muertos, Mexican holid…
The seniors bob team
The seniors' bob team
A traditional group, dressed up as…
A traditional group, dressed up a…
A traditional group, dressed up as…
A traditional group, dressed up a…
A traditional group, dressed up as…
A traditional group, dressed up a…
This band refers to the native peo…
This band refers to the native pe…
Traditional group with big cowbell…
Traditional group with big cowbel…
Gotthard as Swiss cheese, with the…
Gotthard as Swiss cheese, with th…
What to do if you can#t afford rea…
What to do if you can#t afford re…
Scientific experiments have create…
Scientific experiments have creat…
This group will probably also make…
This group will probably also mak…
Another fantasy warrior
Another fantasy warrior
Roger Federer the tennis player
Roger Federer the tennis player
Königsböög
Königsböög
Gondoliere
Gondoliere
TV is there...
TV is there...
Figures from a childrens book
Figures from a children's book
The dragon rider
The dragon rider
Cute faces
Cute faces
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photo by: Chokk