The question of who is a real Basler is not easy to answer. There is actually no such thing as a real Basler. In the city city on the Rhine, people refer to themselves as «d Bebbi». And these Bebbi are very much in line with the clichéd image that people in the rest of Switzerland have of them.
Of course, FC Basel and its fans, the Muttenzer Curve, are at home here in Basel. Everyone who travels around the city, whether they want to or not, comes to know the latest results of the Red-Blue. After a match, they are always the number one topic of conversation in the „Trämli“ (en: tram) and in the „Baiz“ (en: pub).
Tennis is the second most popular sport in the region; after all Roger Federer cites Basel as his official home. (Actually he comes from Münchenstein, a small village in the canton of Basel-Land. Skiing and ice hockey are less popular here. There is not enough snow for that.
Everything comes to a grinding halt at Fasnacht
Officially there are only «die drey scheenschte Dääg» (en: the three nicest days), but the carnival is very much alive in Basel all year round. The typical “Waggis” with wild hair and swollen nose can be found in one form or another in almost every household. Whether as a “Larve” (en: mask) waiting for the next Morgestraich, as an ornament on potholders or as a garden gnome substitute in the flower bed.
If you are an active Fasnächtler, you spend a lot of time with your clique throughout the year practising new songs and marches with your piccolo, drum or trumpet. Of course, you will also be taught how to hold your drink, and as an active participant you have to be able to survive for three days in an emergency.
Those who flee the city during Fasnacht – to go skiing in the mountains for example – are ridiculed or looked upon like aliens.
A geographic handicap has made Basel into an eccentric city
Surrounded by ” Elsässer ” (Alsatian French) and “Schwobe” (all Germans) and cut off from the Swiss midlands by the Jura chain, the people of Basel have become a people who are not always understood by other Swiss and and who are quite happy with that circumstance.
The Basler from the city sometimes has a hard time with the mindset of the “Ländschäftler” (people from Baselland), but both are not very fond of people from Zurich. Naturally – Zurich does not even have a proper football stadium.
Proud “Bebbis” have even turned their backs on the famous “Basler Läckerli” with conviction since it has been produced by a Zurich company. The “Guzzi” (en: biscuits) are no longer eaten by Baslers; they are now just there to sell them to tourists.
Basel tickt anders – (Basel beats differently) – once an advertising slogan of the city marketing is now a motto that the Bebbi have adopted for themselves in all walks of life.
Linguistically, too, people like to stand out from the rest of the country. Most Basler are barely fluent in the original dialect any more – except for those who are members of a Schnitzelbank. However, they still use idiosyncratic words in everyday life, which are not understood outside the the half cantons: The “Cervelat” (type of sausage) becomes a “Chlöpfer”, the “Weggli” (en: bread roll) a “Schwöbli” and “Confetti” (en: confetti) turns into “Räppli”. At the autumn fair, a “Rööslirhyty” (en: merry-go-round) awaits the children, not a “Karussell”.
Learning Baseldytsch made easy