Today we visited Liestal, the capital of Canton Basel Landschaft, to see the Chienbäse festivities. During Chienbäse, cliques playing piccollos and carrying lanterns through the Old Town of Liestal followed people carrying wooden bundles or torches. More recently, huge carts of bonfires have been added to the procession.
Being a February evening in Switzerland, things can be somewhat on the colder side of things. The heat generated by the flames, especially the bonfires, is immense and being near them is unavoidable.
While the procession of lanterns is smaller than Morgenstreich in Basel but the carrying of fire is a sight to behold. The Chienbäse festivities have pagan origins and the fire is supposed to drive out the winter time in an attempt to usher in the spring. The current festivities in Liestal were reinstated in the 19th Century.
Arrive early to secure a good vantage spot in the old town. The bridge on Rathausstrasse is an excellent position. If you head down Rathausstrasse away from the tower, you will find the "repository" where all bundles and bonfires are put out by the fire-brigade. This is an excellent photo-oppurtunity.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook