Räbeliechtli-Umzug (Turnip Lantern Procession)
A wonderful November tradition in Basel and surrounding areas, as well as other parts of German-speaking Switzerland, is the “Räbeliechtli-Umzug” (turnip lantern procession), which takes place on or around November 11 to commemorate St. Martin’s Day. During the procession, children carry lanterns carved from turnips hanging by strings from a stick and lit with tea lights. While there are several smaller processions in the week around St. Martin’s Day, Basel’s main procession, with several hundred children participating, takes place on this day at 18:45. The event starts at Münsterplatz with the singing of some traditional songs. The procession then will set off at 19:00 and wind its way through Rittergasse, Bäumleingasse, and Freie Strasse to the Marktplatz, where everybody will be treated to some hot tea.
If you would like to participate in the procession, you can make your own Räbeliechtli. Several Migros stores offer kits that contain everything you need, including the turnip, stick, string, candle, and a booklet with traditional songs (in Swiss German)—and all of that free of charge! You can pick up these materials (while supplies last) at participating Migros locations (e.g., Claraplatz, Drachen-Center, Gundelitor, Stücki, Birsfelden, Riehen, Liestal, and Paradies in Allschwil).