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150 Years of The Realm of King Rabadan

Rabadan Carnival in BellinzonaBellinzona in the Italian speaking southern part of Switzerland is known as the carnival city. It’s no coincidence the celebration sounds like the Middle Eastern holy month. Rabadan is a word in the Piemontese Italian dialect which basically means uproar or noise making. The origin of the name dates back to the Crusades when the Piemonteses found the Muslims during Ramadan, praying and fastening during the day, but at night partying with abandon. The northern Italians and hence the Swiss from Ticino took on the partying part before lent and the fasting later, appending the custom to the Catholic calendar. The celebration of the Rabadan carnival in Ticino was begun in 1862.

During Rabadan as the Mardi Gras style celebration is called here, marked its 150th anniversary in the Ticino capital of Bellinzona. Over 150,000 people are expected to celebrate the occasion in the streets and in the huge pavilions erected especially for the event. In fact, from the last Thursday before Lent to Shrove Tuesday, the entire city is brought to life by the beat of masked processions, guggenmusik performances, risotto feasts and, above all, a prevailing good mood. The carnival takes place principally around the Piazza Del Sole when the old town pedestrian district is transformed into Carnival Town. Visitors purchase a pin designating them as a “Citizen of Carnival Town” allowing entrance into all the events. This unique atmosphere is set against the backdrop of the three famous medieval castles packed with centuries-old charm. This is one of the unique rich heritages of Swiss traditions, along with various other events in this beautiful area of Switzerland surrounded by mountains and lakes.

Rabadan Bellinzona

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