Switzerland celebrates its national day on August 1 every year. The day commemorates the birth of Swiss confederation over 700 years ago in 1291.
How is the National Day of Switzerland celebrated?
The National Day was officially declared a holiday in 1993. This colorful Swiss holiday is marked with speeches, bonfires, barbecues, music, and gymnastic shows. Across the nation municipalities display fireworks that are usually set off from the hills, recalling the euphoric moment when the foreign bailiffs were expelled. The news of this historic event was also announced in the same way, with fireworks, in 1993.
The vibrant National Day celebrations include illuminating 25-meters high waterfalls on the Rhine, flying flags on top of buildings, signing of the national anthem, and children marching on street with Chinese lanterns.
What is the significance of the National Day of Switzerland?
August 1 was chosen as the National Day of Switzerland because three Alpine cantons-Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri - took a pledge of confederation, and promised to fight together if their sovereignty was threatened. This act of coming together and taking the vow to act jointly in face of external threat, later became the foundation of Switzerland.
The representatives of the three cantons met on Rutli field, above Lake Lucerne, and even today the official National Day celebrations, including the public speech by the President, take place on Rutli.
What does the national flag of Switzerland represents?
The national flag of Switzerland was adopted on December 12, 1889. The flag is derived from the flag of Schwyz, one of first three cantons of the country. It features a prominent equilateral white cross on a red background. The white cross has been used as the symbol of the Swiss military since the 14th century; however, the contemporary design of the cross poised in the red square field was first used in 1800s, during the Napoleonic era by General Niklaus Franz von Bachmann.
The flag resembles the style of a medieval flag and, has been recognized as one of the two perfect square flags, the other one being that of the Vatican City. It represents the virtues of freedom, respect, loyalty, and devotion.
Who wrote national anthem of Switzerland?
The national anthem of Switzerland, Swiss Palm or Schweizerpsalm, was composed by Leonhard Widmer in German, and it was set to tune by Alberich Zwyssig in 1841. Zwyssig sung the song for the first time on November 22 the same year, and it became very popular in various Swiss cantons. However, the song did not achieve the status of a national anthem until April 1, 1981.