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All photos courtesy of Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Carnaval is a tradition in most of Switzerland's cantons. Below are noteworthy Vaud, Valais, Fribourg or other Swiss hotspots with elaborate parades. Most will be wearing masks and have rituals familiar with each area. Of course there are the usual festive findings including food, drink, local specialties and crafts, Guggenmusik (costumed brass bands). Oh, and lots and lots of confetti!

In general, Carnaval covers the period between Epiphany early January and Shrove Tuesday (between 3 February and 9 March). Normally, the first day is known as Jeudi Gras (“Fat Thursday”) and the last day as Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”), however many have more than one Mardi Gras!

Confetti stamps

A party atmosphere on your envelopes! These colourful special stamps lend themselves to creative stamping, putting a smile on the face of the person they’re addressed to even before they open their mail. Made in honor of Switzerland Carnaval season. With the new post office tarifs (CHF 1.20 instead of CHF 1.10) you might need to supplement exisiting older stamps when sending out your next letters!


We have listed a few cities with their CARNAVAL dates in order of start date here:

2-3, 9-11, 13 February 2024
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This is a quaint town with many traditions. Lots of events taking place as well as a meal consisting of spit-roasted boar (sanglier) on the Sunday. 

2-4 February 2024
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The Bulle Carnival is a local tradition that involves a large number of children every year.
For more than 100 years, the town of Bulle vibrates during Carnival. To the sound of the Guggens, many animations are organised inside and out. To entertain young and old, dressed up or not.
Dressed in their finest costumes, up to 800 children take part in the grand parade on Saturday. This colourful and festive moment ends with the burning of the Winter Man. The real highlight of the festival, which traditionally marks the end of winter.
On Sunday afternoon there is a free magic show for all the family at the Town Hall. Proof that children are at the heart of the Bulle Carnival.

2-4 February 2024
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Every year, announcing the Carnival of Estavayer, the traditional Hanging of the Perch starts with a procession that leaves the Place du Midi and, to the sound of the local guggenmusik, La Staviacouac, leads the giant papier-mâché fish in front of the tower of the Dominican Sisters, where a bar opens for this day as well as for the carnival (Le Socabar). There, tea and mulled wine are offered to the population. Afterwards, a party with DJ's extends the event, in a carnival atmosphere, until late at night.

3-11 February 2024
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Every February, the town of Sainte-Croix on the French-Swiss border in the Jura organizes a well-known carnival.
Thousands of visitors, the inhabitants of Sainte-Croix and the whole region of Verdun-les-Bains flock to the carnival to celebrate a festive weekend to the sound of the Guggenmusiks. A giant meal for 1,000 people is offered to the public on the Friday night in the canteen on the festival ground. On the Saturday afternoon there is the traditional children’s ball and in the evening a torchlight procession. On the Sunday morning there is an aperitif concert, and in the afternoon the humorous floats and the Guggenmusiks take over the streets of the town for the great parade.

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3 February 2024 for the Little Carnival
8-13 February 2024 for the Big Carnival event
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Not only will there be many parades and discos throughout the week, but on the last day there will be a procession and incineration of the Bonhomme Hiver on the Place de la Crypte.

8-11, 13 February 2024
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A bit further afield but if you are in the area, take advantage of this one in the Aarau canton. Fun events over the 4 day weekend as well as the following Tuesday.

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7-11 February 2024
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Make sure to load up for the confetti fight on Sunday at 16h14!

8-11 February 2024
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Bring out your best costumes to celebrate the Carnival in Broc! A light show will be held on Saturday at 18h and the big parade takes place on Sunday afternoon at 14h44.

8-13 February 2024
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3 evenings of music are on listed on the calendar. Some events are for a fee.

9, 10, 11, 13 February 2024
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The Tuesday will be the big parade with guggen.

13 February 2024
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As a family, dress up in your best disguises for this carnival day! The little ones are invited to make a mask during a Carnival workshop at the library. The Guggen Gugg'Dragons will then launch the procession with music at the Place des Charmettes.

16-19 February 2024
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Brandons de Payerne are one of the oldest carnivals in Switzerland. A weekend per year in Payerne, the madness is not only authorized, but also recommended...
For a few days, the Brandons' tradition takes over Payerne. It is not uncommon to meet, at the bend of an alleyway, an unrecognizable being, sometimes frightening, sometimes magical. Every year, the people of Payerne compete with each other in daring and creativity in the creation of their costumes and floats and send a palette of colours to the delighted eyes of visitors who sometimes come from far away.Wonder, surprise and happiness can be seen on the faces of young and old alike who savour these sweet moments of celebration and exaltation.Window smearers, processions and disguised women are some of the highlights of the event full of music.

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19-21 February 2024
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The Carnival in Basel is Switzerland’s largest “carnaval” and the main Protestant one in the world and represents three days when the city goes wild. The largest carnival of Switzerland is so unique and of such exceptional quality that it appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

23-25 February 2024
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The Carnaval Vénitien is one of the most amazing costumed sites outside of Venice! You won't be disappointed.

23-24 February 2024
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On Friday at 17h31 there will be a free give out of fluorescent bracelets to get the party started! The Saturday parade starts at 15h01 and both evenings finish with music and dance.

29 February to 3 March 2024
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Details to come

1-4 March 2024
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Details to come.

8-10 March 2024
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Friday night cheese fondue (upon prior payment and reservation), Saturday there will be the colorful parade and a confetti fight with the city's confetti cannon as well.