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Switzerland National Day
Written by Karena on January 20, 2022 Share on

Fête Nationale Suisse – Celebrate the Swiss way!

Switzerland National Day Fireworks
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Rejoiced with great ardor and devotion, the Switzerland National day, or the Fête Nationale Suisse is an annual event that takes place on the 1st of August. This symbolic date represents the day that the three cantons Uri, Unterwalden – now Obwalden and Nidwalden, and Schwyz, swore an oath to serve each other under the banner of a single nation rather than three separate factions and they promised to help and support each other in times of need. When looked beyond Switzerland’s mesmerizing alpine scenery, luxury branded watches, delicious chocolate, and cheese there is this spectacular festival that is a one-of-a-kind experience not to be missed.


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The 1st of August has been commemorated as Swiss National Day (or just Swiss Day) since 1891. The registration of the Federal Charter of 1291 – the Pacte du Grütli, as it is known in Swiss history – marked the historic day when the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden converged to form an alliance against the expanding Habsburg Empire. For the next 500 years, this alliance was central to the formation of the modern-day nation of Switzerland and it marked the very beginnings of the Confoederatio Helvetica, as we know it today – the Swiss Confederation.

Fun fact – The official name of Switzerland is ‘Confoideratio Halvetica’, which translates to ‘Swiss Confederation’ in Latin. This is the reason why the abbreviation of Switzerland is CH. Helvetica is derived from Helvetti, which used to be a prominent tribe.

Swiss National Day Flag
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Where to celebrate

Swiss National Day is, in general, a local affair, with celebrations centered on communities rather than grand national events. A speech by a prominent political or public figure is usually part of each local celebration. Locals generally put up a concert performance or a gymnastic display. There is also food and refreshments available, and many residents dress up for the occasion. Meanwhile, across the country, children carry paper lanterns through the streets and light bonfires. Despite these local celebrations, if you’re looking for a little more excitement, you might want to consider some larger celebrations. Parades in the city center, historical recreations, and even a waterfall light show are among the events. A few of our favorite ways to commemorate Swiss National Day are listed below.

  • Traditional parade in Zurich
  • ‘Fire on the rocks’ at Rhine Falls
  • Bright lights and evening cruises
  • Farm brunches – indulge in local delicacies
  • Goat race in Gruyere

Traditional Parade in Zurich

A lively parade kicks off the National Day celebrations in Switzerland’s largest city. The procession begins at Werdmühleplatz and travels through Bahnhofstrasse before arriving at Bürkliplatz. Watch from the sidewalk to get a front-row seat to the colorful Swiss customs, also dress up in the traditional folklore to get the complete local experience.

Zurich Parade
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Also read: 10 Best Cafes in Zurich, Switzerland-For the coffeeholic in you!

‘Fire on the rocks’ at Rhine Falls

With a name like ‘Fire on the Rocks,’ you know you’re in for a special show at Rhine Falls. The waterfalls near Schaffhausen are illuminated with fireworks and light effects after sunset. This annual tradition dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and draws a multitude of spectators every year.

Rhine Falls
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Also Read: 10 Best Waterfalls in Switzerland

Bright lights and evening cruises

The National Day of Switzerland culminates in a spectacular fireworks display. Board an evening cruise with loved ones from Beckenried to Brunnen as the night sky lights up with vibrant shades. Seeing fireworks from the water has its own allure. Cruises are available across Swiss cities, including the area around Lake Thun. Families also gather on hilltops to light the traditional bonfire (or hohenfeuer) and release lanterns into the sky on this day. It’s a lovely sight!

Switzerland Cruise
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Farm Brunches – indulge in local delicacies

Brunch on the farm has been a tradition that has gained immense popularity, where it provides pre-registered visitors an opportunity to embrace farm life with a lavish spread of farm-grown products that includes mouth-watering pies, sausages, crispy Rosti (a potato-based dish), cheese fondue, and fresh homemade breads. Gather to enjoy barbecued sausages, either cervelat or bratwursts with mustard and Burli(a traditional Swiss bread). The beloved cervelat is a small, light-brown sausage that can be eaten hot or cold – the Swiss way of cooking it is to slit the ends with a knife so that it opens up like a blooming flower, put it on one end of a stick, and toast it over a fire. Salads of different varieties, as well as wine and beer round off the meal. Also, the kids can play in the haystack or take horse carriage rides.

Switzerland cervelat
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Also Read: 10 Street Foods to Try in Switzerland – End your cravings!

Goat race in Gruyere

Fun fact: Since their involvement in halting Bern’s attack on Gruyere, goats have been honored as legendary figures. A goat race is held in the midst of the traditional market area every year on Swiss National Day. Also on exhibit are goat’s cheese and wool, as well as a demonstration of how to make ‘Vacharin’ cheese by an expert. Local delicacies produced with goat’s meat are also available in restaurants.

Goat race Gruyere
Image courtesy – Unsplash

Also Read: Switzerland Visa For Indians: Simple Guide For A Carefree Vacation!

Switzerland, of course, knows how to approach a formal concept in a cheerful and glamorous way. There you have all reasons to leave everything else and fly to the country of spellbinding alpines — even if it’s simply to catch a glimpse of this event, which we guarantee will be more than what you expect. Start Planning your vacation to Switzerland to enjoy great deals on shopping and even the must-visit attractions. If you need help planning, reach out to the destination experts at Pickyourtrail and book your Switzerland package.

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