Long live the King!

THE PERFECT MOMENT
  • 23 February - 15.00
  • 15°
  • 229 m
  • Energic

The Rabadan in Bellinzona is one of Switzerland’s biggest carnivals, with over 150 years of history. Carnival is very popular in Ticino and anyone who wants to can celebrate it for over a month between January and March. Its main ingredients are masks, risotto, music and lots of fun.

The Smurfs, the Avengers, a bear, Little Red Riding Hood, Elvis, the Banda Bassotti, Mickey Mouse, cowboys and Indians, knights, tigers and dragons. “They’re all crazy here!” is a spontaneous exclamation and you can understand why. “Is this still Ticino or have we ended up in a parallel universe inhabited by strange festive characters?!” That’s what it’s like when you experience carnival in Ticino for the first time. You’ll be amazed, with surprises behind every corner. The excitement is contagious.
You’d heard about it from friends who had experienced it or local people from Ticino who have it in their blood, but now you’re surrounded by masks, drums, confetti and a great atmosphere you realise this experience was one you just had to have. Luckily you listened when they told you that you absolutely had to get dressed up. Even something simple is fine, like brightly coloured clothes, a strange hat and a pair of glasses, but it would be a big mistake to turn up in your normal gear. In keeping with carnival tradition from all over the world, a mask sets you free and makes everyone equal, doing away with obstacles linked to profession, class, age and background. Masks also create an immediate sense of fun and so you have all the right ingredients to create the perfect atmosphere.

You’re struck by the fact that people are even dressed up at the supermarket and in the streets. Carnival has taken over the capital, where the keys were handed over by the mayor to King Rabadan during the solemn ceremony on Thursday evening on the terrace of the town hall tower. You mustn’t miss the procession of guggen bands, the floats on Sunday afternoon or the risotto and luganiga sausage served at midday on Tuesday. 

It’s evening now. You arrived by train, you walked down the access street strewn with confetti and lined with decorated shop windows, you made it through the security checks and now you’re in the carnival city ready to throw yourself into a dance in one of the many tents. Why just stop at one? Visit them all and stop to listen to a guggen band concert in the street: this big hit played with drums and trumpets sounds like a completely different song, right?

You’ve been amazed by the Ticino carnival and after a day of festivities you have a better understanding of why your friends were so keen to visit Ticino in February.

Claudio Fontana, - participant in the Processions of Holy Week
Claudio Fontana,participant in the Processions of Holy Week
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You get goose bumps when the procession reaches the main square and 800 people turn to watch it.
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BELLINZONA - WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE

  • Saturday 7 December
  • Min -1° / Max 8°
  • Precipitation 0%

WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE IN THE NEXT DAYS

Sun

-2°/7°

Mon

0°/8°

Tue

0°/11°

Wed

-2°/7°

IN THE SURROUNDINGS

USEFUL INFO

Roman or Ambrosian? There are two types of carnival in Ticino associated with the predominant religion. In the Bellinzona valleys, Brissago and the Capriasca Valley, the Ambrosian carnival starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on the following Saturday.


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