Vogel Gryff in Basel (BS)

Basel

Basel - Voltaplatz

Basel - Voltaplatz

Bruderholz

Bruderholz

Basel - Marktplatz

Basel - Marktplatz

Webcam aus dem Langen Loh 79 in Basel / Europa

Webcam aus dem Langen Loh 79 in Basel / Europa

Basel - Hotel Krafft

Basel - Hotel Krafft

Basel - Barfüsserplatz

Basel - Barfüsserplatz

Biozentrum Universität

Biozentrum Universität

January 13, 20 or 27
If the date falls on a Sunday, the event is staged on the preceding Saturday

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Late in the morning of a wintry day in January - alternately January 13, 20 or 27 - a raft with a very strange crew floats down the River Rhine. There are two drummers, two men carrying big flags, and two cannoneers, who repeatedly fire gun salutes. But the most important figure on the raft is a masked savage carrying an uprooted pine tree. He makes some dance steps constantly facing Kleinbasel, the city on the right bank of the River Rhine.

Just below the Mittlere Brücke (the middle bridge) the savage is met by two other strange creatures: a lion dancing on his hind legs and a griffin with an awesome beak. At noon, the three figures dance on the bridge both jointly and alone to the sound of drums. They carefully avoid looking towards Grossbasel, to the left of the Rhine, or to cross the boundaries to this section of town.

Wilder Mann (the savage man), Leu (the lion) and Vogel Gryff (the griffin) are traditional symbols or symbolic figures of three Kleinbasel societies. In earlier days, they served military and political purposes. Now, they are part of social life and help to strengthen community ties in the small district of Kleinbasel, eager to distinguish itself from the larger district on the left bank. The symbols as well as the processions - which used to happen spontaneously on different days - date back to the sixteenth century. Since 1841, when the societies moved their headquarters to the same building, the three celebrate together on the day allocated to the society presiding that year. Celebrations continue with a festive lunch for all members of the societies. In the afternoon and evening, the symbolic figures resume dancing in the streets of Kleinbasel.

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