March 14, 2011


This past Sunday was Fasnacht in Zürich. It is the Swiss version of Carnival, or at least that is what my guide book tells me. It felt a bit like a parade meets Halloween, certainly not like a Brazilian version of Carnival (If only Zurich were located on the beach and it was sunny all year round). Fasnacht is not treated equally in all of the cantons, rather some anticipate the holiday for months while others hardly regard it as a cause for celebration. Luzern is known for their rowdy Fasnacht celebration whereas in Zurich it felt like an excuse for people to dress up and eat fried food and little else.

Fasnacht is celebrated at the end of winter as a tribute to the warm months ahead. The scary masks are worn to drive away the spirits of the dark winter - auf wiedersehen cold and snow!
Artery clogging food, such as fried apples, fish & chips and fried dough, is enjoyed before the fasting period of Lent begins. Bratwursts are also eaten in abundance, but who on earth would ever give up bratwursts for Lent? not this little swiss miss. Considering I've never really given up anything for Lent the bratwurst vendors should not be worried about losing my business in the coming weeks.
The little kids in their Cinderella costumes and animal costumes are really the ones that made me think Fasnacht could be likened to Halloween. Some of the munchkins also have buckets to collect the candy thrown into the crowd. Funny to think that if we are still living in Zurich when we have kids that they won't get to run around the neighborhood dressed as ninjas and ladybugs trick or treating...and then what about Thanksgiving...and summers at the beach in Rhode Island...and..uh oh domino effect.
There was a large Peruvian and Bolivian contingent in the parade.
Zach made sure to sample all of the food offerings. First he had a hotdog with raclette cheese and pickles and then he had fried apples with vanilla creme sauce - some wedding diet he's on! I think Zach had been thinking about the Apfelküchlein (deep fried apple cookie) all weekend because we first saw the stand on Saturday and then on our way home after the parade on Sunday he said we had to go get some. In the end I think it was one of those things that sounded/looked better than it tasted.
Mmmm perhaps Zach should give up something for Lent?

1 comment:

  1. Cultural events like these not only drive tourism, but economy as well. If Halloween was as big a thing in Zurich as it is in the US, then you'd expect more than just foodstuffs being sold on the streets!

    - Raela Drigger