Carnival of Monthey

Carnival of Monthey
The Carnival of Monthey (Carnaval de Monthey) is the largest and post popular Carnival in Western Switzerland, as well as the oldest Carnival in the canton of Valais. This is a six day event that attracts tourists from all over western Switzerland, as well as from other regions.

The Carnival of Monthey was inaugurated in 1872 and has since become one of the most anticipated annual events in the region. The Carnival officially begins on the Thursday before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), but it is preceded by the so-called Little Carnival (Petit-Carnaval) held on the weekend before the main event. The Little Carnival features the announcement of the Prince of Carnival, live concerts, and a children’s ball.

The main festivities begin on the Thursday following the Little Carnival. The main event of the day is a bistrot decoration contest. On Friday, Guggenmusik is played all over the town by numerous musicians. Guggenmusik is a type of music played by Carnival marching bands in Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany. It is a strongly rhythmic music traditionally played with pipes, drums and brass instruments. Today, however, almost any “loud” instrument may be used, including bagpipe, steel drum, saxophone, etc.

Alongside Guggemusik performances, key events that take place on Friday include the crowning of the Carnival Prince and the election of Miss Carnival and Miss Pimponicaille (“Pimponicaille” is the name of both the official anthem of the Carnival and a big party that takes place on Monday).

On Saturday, there are more Guggenmusk concerts, animation for children, and a mask contest for adults. Sunday is the day of the Grand Parade with its vibrant costumes, breathtaking platforms, and live music. The colorful procession attracts tens of thousands of spectators. The parade is preceded by a big Guggenmusik concert at the main square and followed by a confetti battle.

On Monday, there is a mask contest for children, but the main event of the day is Pimponicaille. It is a large party with loud music, dancing and entertainment that lasts until the wee hours of the morning. Thousands of people gather at the main square to have a good time and sing along to the anthem of the Monthey Carnival that is also named Pimponicaille.

Finally, on Fat Tuesday, there is a children’s parade in the afternoon. But that’s not all! The Carnival is concluded with the trial of Bonhomme Hiver, a large effigy representing winter. It is found guilty of all the bad things that have happened to the community during the year, hung and then burnt. The burning of the effigy marks the end of the Carnival and the beginning of Lent.

The Carnival of Monthey is associated with the character named triboulet. A triboulet is a jester dressed entirely in rad and wearing a hat with bells. The character was named after the jester of kings Louis XII and Francis I of France. A triboulet can be seen on the carnival logo, and several dozen jesters participate in the carnival procession and other festivities.

In 2021, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carnival of Monthey

Photo: Peluso Anthony




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