There's nothing like chasing off the winter blues with atmosphere, music and colour. The Strasbourg Carnival is a not-to-be-missed event in the European capital. Every year in spring, the streets of the city come alive to offer a festive and convivial moment to its inhabitants and the many visitors who come to chase away the winter. In 2024, the Strasbourg carnival will take place on Sunday 24 March from 2.11pm on the theme "Let's shake off the winter!
The origins of the Strasbourg carnival
The Strasbourg carnival is steeped in Alsatian history. Originally, this festival marked the last moment of festivity before the seriousness of Lent, allowing the inhabitants to indulge in ephemeral pleasures.
Over the centuries, it has evolved, incorporating elements of folklore and social criticism. In keeping with the tradition of Rhineland carnivals, Strasbourg's carnival is a free-for-all. It's a time for role reversal, debates on religion and politics, and a humorous assessment of the major scandals that have shaken the city. So traditionally, it's a spectacle of joy and satire, where the streets come alive with colour and music.
After the 1870 war, Strasbourg's carnival was revived by the German occupiers, using German and Swiss traditions. However, this version was quickly disowned by the Alsatians, who preferred to promote their own culture and make fun of the occupiers. The festival was finally abolished in 1902 and lost in the back and forth between France and Germany.
Having fallen into disuse, Germain Muller (a Strasbourg humourist) and his satirical Barabli band tried to revive the tradition in 1956, but failed to captivate the Strasbourg public. Since the 1990s, the Strasbourg carnival has been trying to carve out a place for itself. Today, it's an eagerly awaited and much-loved family event.
The programme for the Strasbourg Carnival 2024
The Strasbourg carnival will take place on Sunday 24 March 2024 under the theme "Let's shake off the winter! The full programme is not yet known, but here are some of the highlights expected:
- The big carnival parade, with dozens of decorated floats and a host of festive troupes, both local and from across the Rhine. Their colourful costumes and infectious good humour help to make this major event a success.
- Creative workshops for children, introducing them to the plastic arts and allowing them to create works inspired by the world of carnival.
The Grand Cavalcade: the grand parade of Strasbourg Carnival
The grand cavalcade is undoubtedly the highlight of the Strasbourg carnival. It traditionally starts at 2.11pm from the Place de l'Étoile and finishes at around 4pm in the Place Kléber, after wandering through the streets of the Krutenau and the city centre.
Every year, the parade attracts thousands of people who come to admire the elaborately decorated floats, listen to the lively brass bands and let themselves be carried away by the popular jubilation. Some people (young and old) also have fun dressing up to join in the fun and make the spectacle even bigger.
Entertainment and workshops for children
Entertainment is usually provided before and after the parade on Place de l'Etoile and Place Kléber. In 2023, there was a "Make your own cannon" workshop, a bidulos exhibition and a masquerade ball for children.