Swiss National Day occurs on the 1st August every year. But what is it, and why should you attend a celebration?
The origins of Swiss National Day
The 1st August commemorates the founding of the Swiss federation in 1291, when the first three cantons came together. Now there are 26 cantons in Switzerland, each with their own regional identity and traditions. Swiss National Day celebrates local Swiss culture as well as the unity of the country, both historically and today.
The lead up to the event
Swiss people decorate their homes and businesses with flags – typically the Swiss flag, the cantonal flag and the local municipal flag. In the case of Adelboden, these are the Canton of Bern flag and the Adelboden flag. The various flags, lanterns and flowers on display are a welcome addition to the beautiful Alpine villages.
Bakers prepare special bread rolls with a Swiss flag baked into the top – a treat you can only find during the Swiss National Day celebrations.
Swiss National Day celebrations remain a local affair as there are no federal celebrations, only community based ones. This means you can get to the heart of the local area you have visited. This allows you to fully understand the local community’s culture and traditions.
In Adelboden, the village hosts a community barbecue, where locals and visitors can cook traditional sausages over an open fire before a series of folk performances.
The 2019 celebrations saw folk dancers, alphorn players and yodelling. If you’re wondering what an alphorn is… it’s a traditional instrument, originally used for communication across the mountains or valleys by farmers. This is due to its ability to produce a sound which carries across long distances.
As in all towns, there is also a speech by a local public figure and the national hymn is sung by the whole community.
When night falls, a parade lead by the local band begins. Children carry painted paper lanterns to illuminate the streets, and guests, such as guide or scout groups, are invited to join the procession. This section, known as ‘Rest of the World’, was headed up by the 1st Viewpark Boys’ Brigade including their bagpipe and drum band – every other year since 2009 the village have asked them to return and join in the fun.
Finally, the night ends in dramatic fashion with a spectacular firework display, set against the backdrop of the shadowy mountains.
Watch the 1st Viewpark Boys’ Brigade in action via our Facebook page below.
Watch the video