The February 2003 meeting of the IAAP Executive Committee in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, coincided with Fasnacht:

"From canton to canton. It is normally just before or just after the beginning of Lent. The roots of the tradition are disputed: some people claim it goes back to a mixture of pagan spring festivals, Christian rites and secular folk customs. In some cantons, carnival is based on pagan traditions of using fearsome masks to chase away evil spirits....
Although carnivals were held in mediaeval times, in later centuries the authorities often saw them as subversive and tried to ban them. Carnivals as they exist today date back usually no further than the 19th century."

Photographs by Don Williams, © 2003.