Traditions and culture give character to a place. Personally, delving into the history, food and customs is the most fascinating aspect of travel; even if it's returning to my home country with my two boys for a weeks skiing. Raising the boys abroad means they miss out on many Swiss traditions throughout the year. In February, the biggest celebration in the Kanton of Fribourg is the Carnaval de Broc.
In the midst of being pushed along with the crowds, being bombarded (literally!) with confetti, yes, complete strangers throw as much multi-coloured paper bits on you as they possibly can, completely in awe of the colours and enthusiasm of the youngsters of this region, we spent a wonderful afternoon in the snowy/rainy streets of this charming small town.
The parade began at 2.43 pm precisely and featured colorful costumes, Guggenbands and decorative floats. A few Kindergarten classes lead the way. Every area (commune) works on showcasing various themes or current events on their tractors and floats. It is all thought out and made by the "Jeunesse" , groups of young students between the ages of 16 and 19 of each commune. Throughout the year they raise funds, meet up and plan for this and other events.
The tradition has varying origins: a time to let loose before the penitential period of lent, a festival to drive away demons or a celebration marking the end of winter. The point is to forget about everyday hassles for a moment and simply give in to the confetti action, costumes and sounds of music!
At the end, one of the floats is set on fire and you may tuck into some carvnival food such as the "Fastnachtschuechli" or "Beignets de Carnaval" which is a type of funnel cake, "Coquins" or "Boule de Berlin", all delicious and don't forget the "vin chaud" to keep you warm!