August 1 – Swiss National Day

August 1 – Swiss National Day – a federal holiday in honour of the founding of the Swiss Confederation. This holiday is the only holiday celebrated at the federal level. In some cities, the official ceremony takes place on the eve of the holiday – July 31st.


In accordance with the national Swiss myth, in 1291 the representatives of the three cantons – Schwyz, Uri, Unterwalden formed an alliance to defend themselves against an external attack. This event is considered fundamental, which served as the beginning of the formation of the Swiss Confederation. The holiday was officially established in 1891, the year of the 600th anniversary of the founding of Switzerland. For a long time, August 1 was a working day in most cantons. After the popular initiative was approved in a referendum on September 26, 1993 in 1994, it was declared an official non-working day throughout Switzerland.


Many people decorate their homes with federal and municipal flags on the day of the holiday. This tradition of decorating public buildings, streets and squares is a legal requirement in most cantons. Every year the President of the country makes a solemn speech on the Ryutli glade.

As night falls, many children take to the streets with lanterns and fireworks. And on the tops of mountains and hills you can see cone-shaped bonfires several meters high. This tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, when a system of hills was built along the country’s territorial borders, on the tops of which there were similar bonfires and which were lit when enemies approached.

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