Lucerne, Switzerland, January 31, 2008Members of a typical Guggemusik banda loose and loud group of brass musiciansmarch through an old district of Lucerne on the opening day of the city's Carnival.
Modern Swiss Carnival traditions date back no further than the 19th century, according to swissworld.org, a government Web site.
The origins of the Swiss tradition are disputed. Some claim the festivities stem from pagan celebrations, others say Swiss Carnival finds its origins in old Christian rites, and some people believe the celebration derives from simple, secular folk customs, according to the site.
Swissworld adds that cold weathernot personalityforces the Swiss to dress more conservatively than revelers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.