Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The famed three-day carnival in Basel, Switzerland, got underway at the traditional start time of 4 a.m. on Monday, with a lights-out parade through the city's oldest neighborhood.
Costumes, simultaneous marching parades, music, confetti and a less intense children-only parade are among the event's highlights.
Tens of thousands lined Basel's streets in darkness waiting for the carnival's opening parade, called "Morgastraich." Streetlights went dark and a lantern-lit procession began.
This year, the event has a new distinction. It was added last year to UNESCO's List of Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is also the last of Switzerland's pre-Easter carnivals-- and as a Protestant celebration, the country's only non-Catholic festivity.