2020 won’t go out with a bang in Switzerland

In September Davos became the first municipality in Switzerland to pass a firework ban by referendum. Sparklers, on the other hand, are acceptable Keystone / Kimmo Brandt

Switzerland will be ringing in the New Year quietly and intimately. Measures taken to contain the Covid pandemic mean official celebrations and fireworks have been cancelled and gatherings in normally popular places are banned.

This content was published on December 31, 2020 - 18:30

In Basel, neither the traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks nor the concert, church service and serving of mulled wine on the banks of the Rhine will take place.

In Zurich, the “Silvesterzauber Light” in the city centre has been called off. The light show by artist Gerry Hofstetter was planned as a replacement for fireworks.

Light art was also on the programme in Lausanne. However, the official event in the cathedral, with the illumination of a monument that would appear to be on fire, was snuffed out. The cantonal authorities recommend celebrating privately instead.

In Bern, on the other hand, the bells of the Münster cathedral will once again ring out the old year and ring in the new one. This year all 12 chimes will be repeated at midnight, not just the first two.

Normally the atmosphere in the square outside the cathedral is like at a football match – the bells can hardly be heard over the shouting and laughter. 

No drones

The strict ban on fireworks on the St Gallen monastery square applies every year, but this New Year’s Eve will be even more monkly. The authorities have called on people to avoid crowds and to celebrate on a small scale at home. Normally, hundreds of people toast the New Year on the square.

The start of 2021 should also be calm and quiet in the exclusive tourist destinations of St Moritz and Davos in eastern Switzerland. St Moritz has cancelled all New Year’s events because of the pandemic, including the drone show that wowed viewers last year instead of the traditional fireworks.

There won’t even be any firecrackers or rockets in Davos, which in September became the first municipality in Switzerland to pass a firework ban by referendum. Only things that make no noise, such as flares or bonfires, remain permitted.

Happy New Year!

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