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Bern Carnival

Posted on: 26th February 2015 | Category: Swiss adventures, Trips and excursions

Carnival Season is upon Switzerland! Each year, around the time of the start of Lent, cities throughout Switzerland host carnivals in the street, in their origins traditionally one last extravagance before a liturgical period of fasting and self-denial.

On Saturday 21st January, a group of Surval girls attended the closing day of the Bern Carnival. Appropriately dressed in fluorescent colours, the girls’ arrival brightened up a wintery Bern morning. As we wandered through the streets we began to see the preparations for the afternoon’s events taking place: people sporadically dressed in weird and wonderful outfits, bands getting into position and rehearsing, stalls lining the streets selling all sorts of delicacies. An outing to Bern - part of the German-speaking part of Switzerland - always means the experience of a different culture from that in Montreux. The German language and culture influences are immediately evident. For the day, we swapped fondue for bratwurst and ‘Bonjour’ for ‘Guten tag’.

Later in the afternoon, the events began with an explosion of colour and sound. Drums, wind, brass and strings - bands from all over Switzerland paraded through the streets in elaborate costumes, entertaining us with their music. Lively syncopated rhythms and melodies both traditional and contemporary filled the air. The city was abuzz. Walking along the street while the parade was in full swing, moving from band to band and song to song, felt like flipping through a comic book – each new band another picture, illustrated with different colours, telling a different story. The girls were sad when the events drew to a close – a sure sign that they had enjoyed this wonderful new experience.

Here is what two of our girls had to say about the day:

“The music and the rhythms were spectacular! My favourite were the ‘Frozen Ladies’ because they were wearing long light blue dresses with snowflakes and wide skirts.” (Paula, Italy)

“I loved the Carnival in Bern because of the colourful fancy dresses (especially the zombies) and the parade - it was like going to a big party with my friends!” (Victoria, Russia)


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