National Day in Switzerland in 2021

  Dates of National Day in Switzerland
2022 Switzerland Mon, Aug 1 National Holiday
2021 Switzerland Sun, Aug 1 National Holiday
2020 Switzerland Sat, Aug 1 National Holiday
2019 Switzerland Thu, Aug 1 National Holiday
2018 Switzerland Wed, Aug 1 National Holiday
On August 1st 1291, the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter on the Rütli field, near to Lake Lucerne
  Local name

When is Swiss National Day?

August 1st is a national public holiday in Switzerland. It marks the annual celebration of Swiss National (or Confederation) Day.

In German the day is known as ' Schweizer Bundesfeier'; in French as 'Fête nationale Suisse'; in Italian as 'Festa nazionale svizzera' and Romansh as ' Fiasta naziunala Svizra'.

History of Swiss National Day

It was in 1891 that the date of Swiss National Day was first decided upon, though it took over a hundred years before the industrious Swiss decided to have a vote and give themselves the day off.

Following the vote in September 1993, the day became an official national holiday in 1994.

August 1st was chosen because this was said to be the day, in 1291, on which the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter on the Rütli field, near to Lake Lucerne.

In fact, the charter does not specifically mention August 1st as the date, but instead refers to "at the beginning of the month of August 1291".

The charter united the signatories in the struggle against Habsburg rule, the family then possessing the Duchy of Austria in the Holy Roman Empire. The signing of the charter has now become regarded as the foundation of Switzerland.

How is Swiss National Day celebrated?

The official celebration fittingly takes place at Rütli field, where a representational celebration is staged in the location that the signing of the charter took place.

Similar to the American Independence Day celebrations, big family gatherings and barbeques are a common feature of the day. Communities across Switzerland also celebrate the occasion with bonfires, fireworks, and parades. The tradition of lighting a bonfire in high summer predates National day. The custom of lighting a bonfire on St. John's Day (June 24th), was common across Europe; though this was in turn, a Christian version of much older Midsummer Celebrations taking place on or around that date.

A National Day tradition that has gained in popularity over the last couple of years is having breakfast at a farm. This is particularly popular among families with children since it's not only a huge culinary delight in form of a "farmers" breakfast, but everyone also gets to experience what it's like to keep a farm running. (everything from how to produce cheese, bread, how to make jam, getting close to the animals, etc.)

For a list of Swiss National Day events, visit

As this is a national holiday in Switzerland, most shops and grocery stores remain closed. Public transport operates according to Sunday schedules.

Some shops in tourist villages may be open. Grocery stores at train stations and gas station shops are usually open and run normally.

Did you know?

Three facts about National Day

The official name of Switzerland is 'Confoederatio Helvetica', which means 'Swiss Confederation' in Latin. Nowadays the Latin name is only used on official documents but it is the reason why Switzerland's abbreviation is CH. Helvetica is named after the Helvetii, who were a prominent tribe in the region during Roman times.

Switzerland may be landlocked, but this lack of coastline is compensated by having more than 1,500 lakes, and nobody is ever more than 10 miles from a lake.

St Peter's Church in Zürich has the largest church clock face in Europe, measuring 8.7m in diameter.

More facts about National Day

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