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Lucerne

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Every year, towards the end of winter, Fasnacht (Carnival) breaks out in the streets, alleyways and squares of the old town. This is a glittering outdoor party, where chaos and merriness reign and nothing is as it normally is. Strange characters in fantastic masks and costumes make their way through the alleyways, while Guggenmusiken (carnival bands) blow their instruments in joyful cacophony and thousands of bizarrely clad people sing and dance away the winter. The Lucerner Fasnacht, based on religious, Catholic backgrounds, starts every year on the Thursday before Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) with a big bang at 5am called Morgenwacht (Morning Watch). There are big parades in the afternoon on Schmotzige Donnerstag (literally: Lardy Thursday) and the following Monday, called Güdismontag (literally: Paunch Monday), which attract tens of thousands of people. Lucerne's Carnival ends with a crowning finish on Güdisdienstag (literally: Paunch Tuesday) evening with the Monstercorso, a tremendous parade of Guggenmusiken, lights and lanterns with even a larger audience. Rather recently a fourth Fasnacht day has been introduced on the Saturday between the others Fasnacht days, the Rüüdige Samstag while mainly several indoor balls take place. From dusk till dawn on the evenings of Schmotzige Donnerstag, Güdismontag, and after the Monstercorso many bands wander through the historical part of the city playing typical Fasnacht tunes. Until midnight, the historical part of the city usually is packed with people participating. A large part of the audience are also dressed up in costumes, even a majority in the evenings.

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