The History of Carnival in Zurich

Zurich is a city in Switzerland and every year it hosts a carnival commonly known as Zurich carnival. During this time, there are many celebrations, which include music and performances. The people of Zurich have fun and enjoy themselves during this time of the year. The question is how did this carnival begin? What it the history of carnival in Zurich?

People enjoy themselves by taking part in the carnival. The carnival takes place before the period of Lent. For catholic believers, Lent is the period of 40 days before Easter. During this time, the believers are not supposed to eat rich food such as meat, sugar, dairy, fats and drinks. In addition, it also a time of prayer and penance for sins. It signifies the 40 days that Jesus was in the wilderness. The carnival is meant to take place before the period of lent begins.

 One of the origins of the name carnival is from Italian word ‘carne’, which means meat. ‘Carne levare’ means ‘to remove meat’ and the Latin expression ‘carne vale’ means ‘farewell to the flesh’. Carnival therefore means removal of meat from the food taken during lent.

Since the carnival originated from Italy, the origins of the word also came from there. Italy is a Catholic stronghold and it used the carnival to signify the beginning of Lent. Since during Lent the believers are not supposed to take meat, the name suggests removal of meat from the diet and saying goodbye to the meat during the period of lent.





Origins of the Zurich carnival

The celebrations of carnival in Zurich have been taking place for the over 100 years. The celebrations originated in Roman Catholic strongholds. During the time of lent, people should not eat meat and other fatty foods. In the early days, what they normally did was to remove that entire foodstuff from the house and take it to a place to eat and make merry. This happened before the period of lent began.

This is thought to have been the origin of carnival. People coming with all the food they will not eat during the period of lent and having a big party.

Carnival origins before it came to Zurich

The idea of Carnival parades began in Italy. This is evidenced by the most famous carnival of Venice. They later spread to other nations which practice Catholic believes such as Spain and France. The carnival spirit later spread to Germany and its neighboring countries such as Switzerland. the first carnival to take place all over the world was in Cologne, Germany in 1823.

In the history of carnival in Zurich, the city and other cities in the country began taking part in carnivals during the period of lent. Most of the cities in Switzerland have their own way of celebrating carnivals including Zurich.



Switzerland carnival

Carnival in Switzerland is different in each city. For instance, when most of other cities hold the carnivals before Lent, the city of Basel celebrates it the week after the Ash Wednesday and it takes three days. Other cities such as Zurich celebrate it on different days before or during the period of lent. The country has different cultures of people and carnivals bring these people together during this time to celebrate.

With the great features of the country that include the Alps, more visitors come to the country at the time of the carnivals to share in the experience.

 Activities that take place on Zurich carnival

Having fun and letting go from the daily activities is the purpose of carnival in Zurich. Many activities take place and one of them is the guggenmusik concerts. This is a carnival band, which lead the procession of other traditional music groups. People wear costumes and fancy dresses as they sing. The streets are also colorful during this time from the many costumes won.

People of Zurich abandon their daily norm and they take to the streets to have fun. They even put on masks and glitter in addition to the costumes while they laugh and dance. Even with a long history of the Zurich carnival, it still takes place to celebrate the beginning of lent. People, the Swiss in Zurich and visitors alike enjoy the rhythms of the music, the folklore events, the band performances and the concerts.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply