Publisher: All-Russian public organization "Academy of Engineering Sciences named after A.M. Prokhorov".
# 02, February 2014
Luzern’s six-day all-in carnival, ending on Mardi Gras night, is the biggest and best in Switzerland. Celebrations are focused around three “official” carnival days.
The Thursday before Mardi Gras is dubbed Schmotzig Donnschtig, or Dirty Thursday; the following Monday is Güdis Määntig, or Fat Monday; while Mardi Gras itself (Fat Tuesday) is Güdis Tseeschtig.
Luzern’s carnival is centred on the figure of Fritschi, mentioned as early as 1443 and later subsumed into the legends surrounding a victory at the Battle of Ragaz on March 6, 1446.
Originally Fritschi was a lifesize straw doll carried through Luzern accompanied by Fritschene, his “wife”; these days a costumed couple take their place. Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the two were joined on parade by a nanny, a jester named Bajazzo and some musicians.
To this day, Fritschi begins Luzern’s carnival, at 5am on the morning of Dirty Thursday, when he and his entourage lean out of an upper window of the Rathaus on Kornmarkt as a cannon signals the start of festivities.