Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The history of Swiss National Day

August 1st is considered the date of the Swiss National Day. On this day, all cities will be decorated with flags, celebrations will be held in the evening through the streets with traditional coloured lanterns. Colourful fireworks and bonfires will light up the sky over the country. All of Switzerland will hold performances with dances, music, and songs, complemented by a solemn performance of the National anthem.

Switzerland celebrates its holiday in the country's four National languages: Bundesfeiertag (German),  Jour de la Fête National (French), Giorno Della Festa Nazionale (Italian) and Di da la Fiesta National (Romansch).

The tradition to celebrate it on the first day of August goes into the distant 1291, when, as legend has it, the Alpine republic was founded.

The name is received from Schwyz, one of the three cantons which together formed a confederacy. The base of the Swiss government refers to 1291 when representatives from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden met on the shores of Lake Lucerne to conclude a protective union against to the powerful House of Habsburg.

According to legend, on the first day of August, a sacred oath (Rütlischwur) of three was given in which each of the three cantons promised each other to come to the aid in the fight against external enemies.

Soon other cities and regions joined in order to maintain their independence. Since 1891, August 1st is celebrated throughout the country as the anniversary of the Nation's creation.

By the way, the word «oath» in German is Eid, and the full name of the Alpine republic in German is the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. However, not all historians share this interpretation.

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