Swiss National Day August 1st – Happy Birthday Switzerland!

Swiss Flag, Swiss National Holiday

If it’s your first time in Switzerland for August 1st you’re in for a treat. You may have noticed the shop windows overdosing on red and white for the past month and you can find the Swiss flag on almost everything from a paper napkin to t shirts to mugs and cow bells (now’s quite a good time to stock up on presents to take to the folks back home). So what are the celebrations all about?

Swiss National Holiday August 1st

Shop Windows ready for Swiss National Day

Swiss National Holiday August 1st

Historic Confederation Helvetica Alliance

It’s a celebration of the historic alliance signed on 1st August 1291 by the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden which made up the first “Confederation Helvetica” – the beginning of what we know as Switzerland today.

They pledged eternal allegiance and to help support each other against the Hapsburgs and the date has been celebrated as a holiday since 1891. In Rütli Meadow in Canton Uri near Lake Lucerne a very special celebration is enacted every year in the very place that the alliance was originally signed.

August 1st Zurich

Photos of August 1st Celebrations Zurich

Swiss National Day August 1st

In Zurich there is always a parade with lots of Alphorn playing, flag throwing and more. See some  impressions here:

August 1st Zurich

The Ticino stand at Bürkliplatz Zurich making Risotto

August 1st Zurich

Everyone celebrating the National Holiday with Swiss food and drink

August 1st Zurich

August 1st Zurich

August 1st Zurich

August 1st Zurich

There’s also plenty of uniform, marching, parades and processions involving antique Swiss weaponry too.

Celebrations All Over Switzerland

Many of the towns and villages around Switzerland host celebrations and firework displays – one of the best near Zurich is the spectacular one at the Rhine Falls which is approximately an hour away – which takes place on 31st July at 9.45pm. The event is known as “Fire on the Rocks” and what’s more is that it’s free of charge –  for more information please go to the website.

It’s also a great day to go for a hike why not combine it with a Farmhouse Brunch. There are brunches going on all over Switzerland and there is even a website with a “farmhouse brunch finder” – see here for more information !

Away from the celebrations August 1st is a very quiet day in Zurich as all the shops are closed – as you can see from this video:

In the evening there are private firework displays in addition to some which are organised by local communities. Here you can see some fireworks along the lake:

= >>Please see our article on what to do on the Swiss National Holiday here:

Celebrate 1st August Swiss National Day in Style

Farmers Brunch Experience:

Buurzmorge, Farmer’s Brunch on August 1st




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