Swiss National Day

Swiss National Day
Flag of Switzerland.svg
Official nameGerman: Schweizer Bundesfeiertag; French: Fête nationale suisse; Italian: Festa nazionale svizzera; Romansh: Fiasta naziunala svizra
Also calledFirst of August
Observed bySwitzerland
SignificanceAnniversary of the Federal Charter of 1291
Date1 August
Next time1 August 2019 (2019-08-01)
Frequencyannual

The Swiss National Day (German: Schweizer Bundesfeiertag; French: Fête nationale suisse; Italian: Festa nazionale svizzera; Romansh: Fiasta naziunala svizra) is the national holiday of Switzerland, set on 1 August. Although the founding of the Swiss Confederacy was first celebrated on this date in 1891 and annually since 1899, it has only been an official holiday since 1994.[1]

History

The date is inspired by the date of the Federal Charter of 1291, Pacte du Rütli, placed in "early August",[2] when "three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation" (Schwyz, Uri and Unterwald), an action which later came to be regarded as the founding of Switzerland."[3] The document is one of several dozen pacts attested for the territory of Switzerland in the period of the mid-13th to mid-14th century. The foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy had been mostly associated with the Bund of Brunnen of 1315, or with the Rütlischwur, dated to 1307 by Aegidius Tschudi.[citation needed]

The Federal Charter of 1291 first assumed great importance in a report by the Federal Department of Home Affairs of 21 November 1889, suggesting a celebration in Bern in 1891 that would combine the city's 700th anniversary with the Confederacy's 600th anniversary.[citation needed]

The date of the Federal Charter came to replace the formerly more prominent, traditional date of 8 November Rütlischwur, 1307 in popular consciousness in the 20th century, specifically after the 650th anniversary celebrations of 1941.[citation needed]

It has been an official holiday since 1994, following the acceptance of a federal popular initiative in its favour in 1993.

1 August is celebrated each year with paper lantern parades, bonfires, hanging strings of Swiss flags, fireworks and competitive rifle shooting matches.[3]