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August 1


Switzerland celebrates its 724th birthday


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There are rituals whose traditional character is particularly appreciated by people. August 1, Swiss National Day, is steeped in history and is one of these rituals. It is celebrated not only all across Switzerland but also by Swiss associations abroad who grill cervelat sausages, paint lanterns with Swiss crosses, set off fireworks – and give speeches. 

The seven members of the Swiss cabinet criss-cross the country, reminding people of Switzerland’s values, achievements and challenges. Simonetta Sommaruga, who holds the rotating presidency this year, will deliver her August 1 speech on the Rütli Meadow overlooking Lake Lucerne, where, according to legend, representatives of the three founding Swiss cantons met in 1291 to form an alliance against the Habsburgs, their feudal lords. 

It is a day of social get-togethers, whether at home, in public places, on the banks of lakes or rivers or in farmyards for a traditional August 1 brunch. 

You might also see flag throwers, alphorn players and groups of yodellers and hear the National Anthem (although only a handful of Swiss actually know all the verses). 

And in addition to the impressive firework displays put on by communes and private sponsors, firecrackers of various sizes can be seen and heard heading into the night skies – not to everyone’s pleasure.