Carnival parades in photos – Germany, Switzerland, Argentina

by | Destinations

In the weeks leading up to Easter each year, cultures around the world celebrate with their own versions of Mardi Gras, also known as Fasching, Fasnacht, Carnival or Carnaval — and that means, of course, lots of carnival parades. Mardi Gras of course just means “Fat Tuesday,” but in the United States it has come to be a catch-all name for the parties, parties and celebratory customs leading up to the period of Lent prior to Easter.

Carnival is by custom a time of eating, drinking, debauchery, and generally indulging. That’s because you are supposed to be good during the ritual fasting and eating only fish of the Lenten season, or the 40 days (not counting Sundays) starting on the Wednesday after Fat Tuesday a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday.

We’re not convinced that this time of partying and indulgence these days really leads up to self-denial and repentance for nearly six weeks. Seems it may just be a good excuse for many to get a little crazy, particularly in hotspots such as New Orleans; Nice, France; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But it’s still a good time all over the world with costumes and customs worth exploring for travelers.

In our story, “Great Carnival Parades in Europe,” we explain a little bit more about terminology and note upcoming dates. There you will also find a number of photos not seen in this gallery.

Below we give you a glimpse at carnival parades and customs in three places: a kid’s parade in Switzerland, a small-town fling in Southern Germany, and a street party and parade at “the End of the World” in Argentina’s Ushuaia.

Ushuaia, Argentina

With southern hemisphere weather, the carnival celebrations mean baring lots of skin.

The parade is a loud affair with drum corps supplying the beat during and after the parade.
Little girls dress up in their own conservative costumes, gawking at the older girls showing skin.
Jiggling, flouncing and swinging is part of the dance party called carnival in Ushuaia.
The parade takes over the main thoroughfare of Ushuaia, then ends in the oceanside park and parking lots for continued partying.

Geislingen, Germany

In an area south of Stuttgart, Geislingen is one of many small towns that take their carnival (Fasnacht) partying and parades quite seriously. You can spend a number of days making the rounds.

Masks – sometimes quite gruesome – are seen frequently, allowing all kinds of shenanigans without really revealing what or who is behind them.
This “witch” rolled her cauldron down the street in the parade, boiling, boiling, toiling and trouble!
Compared to Switzerland’s kid’s parade, these Swabia-area parades are quite the party – or should we say, excuse to party.
There are many clubs in the larger area that spend the entire year preparing for the season’s parades and celebrations. Musicians, jugglers, clowns and other performers, including fire-breathers.

Altstätten, Switzerland

For the kid’s parade, the whole town turns out, with marching bands and costumes of all kinds. Clean, daytime fun.

Even the adults providing music get into the costume creativity. Buzz, buzz, bees.
Snowflakes not only came down from the winter sky but marched down the street.
When the parade is over, toddlers in little royal town costumes are lined up – granted, getting them to stay there for a march and presentation can be difficult.
OK, so it may not have been perfected drumming, but it made noise! And for these tigers that’s all that mattered.