The Rabadan of Bellinzona is among the most famous carnivals in Switzerland, along with those of Basel and Lucerne. Rabadan is a dialect term that indicates the “confusion”, the “noise”, and that derives directly from the Milanese dialect because Bellinzona was part, until the sixteenth century, of the Duchy of Milan.
During the 5 days of the Carnival, Bellinzona becomes the Kingdom of King Rabadan, to whom the keys of the city are handed over. The King Rabadan is the king of party! Nightclubs and food stalls remain open throughout the period up to 4-5 am.
From Thursday and until the following Tuesday, in Bellinzona at Carnevale time stops and you can party until the next morning.
The Carnival of Bellinzona this year is from 8 to 13 February 2018
Thursday begins with the ceremony of handing over the Keys of the City, then on Friday there is the Children’s Carnival, Saturday instead the bands from all over Switzerland gather for the great concert of the Guggen, On Sunday takes place the Grande Corteo with the parade of the masks, concerts, masked balls, wagons. The conclusion is on Fat Tuesday, with the risotto and luganighe (rice and sausage) and the big party until late evening, ending with the return of the keys to the city and the distribution of the broth cooked by His Majesty King “Born” (symbol of penance in Lent.). You can go on with the wild dances until dawn, for the last time.
Around these main events there are many other collateral initiatives such as the competition for the most beautiful mask, theater performances, entertainment for children and so on.
Admission to the City of Carnival is a fee, you need to have a pass to enter, which can be weekly or daily. There is also an economic ticket that allows entry to the masked parade only and which is free for children under 12.