Carnival in Jura


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

Jura's carnival celebrations, also known as Carimentran, have a long and eventful history. From masked processions to grand balls, the merrymaking has varied from place to place and from age to age between high-spirited populism and social satire. It thus reflects the full range of regional history, having evolved in parallel with the canton's economic and political development. One example of its traditions is the sortie des sauvages (night of the wild men) in Le Noirmont, shortly before Shrove Tuesday, when young men covered in branches run through the village streets seizing young ladies and ducking them in the fountains. Another is the night-time Baitchai procession featuring rhythmic drums and bells that were supposed to drive out spirits on the eve of Shrove Tuesday. The satirical side is best expressed in the carnival newspapers that excel in ridiculing the local elite, as well as the urban carnivals that were organised in the second half of the 19th century. The latter were more highly politicised and centred on a "king for a day", who was a symbol of affluence intended as a tongue-in-cheek rival to the great and the good. While the populist side of the festivities fell out of favour in the 1960s, it now dominates this living tradition, albeit in a considerably more media-friendly form.

Image gallery

  • The “parochial fanfare” clique in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1993
  • The procession with its lavish costumes in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1993
  • Saignelégier: young members of the Baitchai © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1992
  • The wild men of Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1992
  • The Baitchai in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1988
  • Bassecourt: a clique with its young members © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1982
  • The “parochial fanfare” clique in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1993
  • The procession with its lavish costumes in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1993
  • Saignelégier: young members of the Baitchai © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1992
  • The wild men of Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1992
  • The Baitchai in Le Noirmont © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1988
  • Bassecourt: a clique with its young members © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ), 1982

References and documentation

Publications
  • Laurence Marti : Le carnaval jurassien. XIX et XXe siècles (Intervalles. Revue culturelle du Jura bernois et de Bienne no 33). Bienne, 1992

  • Laurence Marti et al. : Carimentran. Le carnaval franc-montagnard. Aubonne, 1998

  • Simone Quenet : Le Rai-tiai-tiai aidjolat. Un témoin linguistique pour le Jura. Analyse lexicographique d'un journal de carnaval avec une attention particulière portée aux alémanismes (Mémoire de licence, Faculté des Lettres de l'Université de Neuchâtel). Neuchâtel, 1998

  • Célestin von Hornstein : Fêtes légendaires du Jura bernois. Réjouissances et Traditions populaires qui s'y rattachent. La Neuveville, 1924

  • Télévision Suisse Romande : Le Carnaval du Jura, à l'occasion des 40 ans du carnaval de Bassecourt (DVD-vidéo). Genève, 1996

  • Télévision Suisse Romande : Le carnaval du Jura (Collection De si de là). Genève, 1996

Documentation