Monday, August 01, 2011


Celebrating the Swiss National Day at the Rhine falls near Schaffhausen

Swiss National Day, August 1st

Founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291

Since 1891, the first of August has been celebrated as Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. This alliance was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years.

Men from these three cantons "at the beginning of the month of August 1291" swore  eternal allegiance to one another, promising mutual help and assistance. The alliance was mainly formed against the Habsburgs, who were striving to strengthen their position in the strategic region leading to the Gotthard Pass at the time.

August 1st is celebrated exclusively within the communities; a radio or television broadcast by the President of the Swiss Confederation is the only exception to this esteemed federal principle. Communal celebrations comprise solemn words spoken by a prominent public figure from political or cultural life, accompanied by a concert or choire, gymnastic presentations, and the community singing the national anthem.

Wealthy communities or tourist offices may also sponsor a display of fireworks. Bonfires, mainly on hills and other elevated spots, commemorate the expulsion of foreign bailiffs in the fourteenth century, the news of which were spread in this manner in those days. Children carrying lighted paper lanterns roam the streets at night. Public and private buildings are decorated with national, cantonal, and community flags, and the bakers produce special bread rolls with a small Swiss flag on top. 

A special kind of celebration takes place at the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen. From mid-nineteenth century onwards, the waterfall has been illuminated on special occasions. Since 1920, it has been illuminated regularly on August 1, and since 1966 exclusively so. On the same day, a magnificent fireworks display also attracts throngs of spectators to this special site.

A representative celebration is staged at the Rütli Meadow in the canton of Uri above Lake Lucerne. It takes place in the same place where the legendary pledge of alliance was pronounced.

To read about other regions in Switzerland how they do celebrate the National Day, click here:

P.S. And, something very important:
it's our 10th Anniversary today too - thank you Switzerland for all the fire work to our anniversary day! :-))


Marcie said...

I didn't know this about Switzerland's birthday!! Happy belated one!!!

Susanne49 said...

I'm glad I could tell you a little bit about my Switzerland, dear Marcie. Thanks for the comment! :-)

The Abacus said...

Switzerland...the envy of all European countries. I am myself from Malta so I know what I am talking about. Anyway nice capture, bright vivid colors and crystal clear focus.

Susanne49 said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for this kind comment, Abacus.

I have visited Malta and loved it very much - very photogenic!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin