Learn about Switzerland | 31 July, 2019

August 1: Switzerland is commemorating its national day

Cristina Albuja Operational Risk

Switzerland, an international finance center ideal for portfolio diversification

Many people around the world choose to place part of their savings in investments outside their home country, in order to diversify their holdings. That’s why they put part of their capital in international financial centers. Switzerland is one of them.

Switzerland is commemorating its national holiday on 1 August.  The warm summer temperatures create the appropriate setting for the Swiss Confederation to fill the night with lights and fireworks as it remembers the founding in 1291 of what we now know as the land of chocolate, watches, and finances.

Although the exact date is still unknown, 1 August was set as the national holiday in 1891 when the 600th anniversary of the National Pact was celebrated.  On that date, one of the first contracts was signed by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden (currently comprised of the cantons Nidwalden and Obwalden) formed the core of modern-day Switzerland. This also marked the beginning of a very early alliance, which became what we know today as the Swiss Federation.

Legend has it that this union sealed a perpetual bond in which the citizens of the three cantons swore to mutually provide each other with emergency protection and help in the face of the attacks of Rudolph Von Habsburg, the then-King of Germany, who at the time was attempting to extend his influence over the territories leading into Gotthard.

Fireworks and barbecues

The official celebration and the most important public speeches occur in the Rütli meadow, at the top of the lake of the Four Cantons (Uri Canton), where the oath was sworn.  However, the national holiday is celebrated most in gardens, farms, and meadows all over the country.

The Swiss take the opportunity to have a barbecue or go for brunch (late breakfast served in farms) and then when it starts to get dark, they light a bonfire.  This tradition – which the rest of Europe celebrates on St John the Baptist Day, 24 June – is especially symbolic in this country, as it is recalled that, for centuries, beacons were lit at the highest point of mountains as a warning sign in the event of an emergency or danger.

Lighting fireworks is another ritual of this day. The fireworks are normally organised by the central governments, such as the town halls and local councils, who fill certain lakes and mountains with colour and happiness for everyone to enjoy from any part of the country.

There is no doubt that on 1 August, this country commemorates the founding of land that celebrates the harmony and solidarity of all the cantons it comprises. This is a unique country! 4 official languages are spoken: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. It is made up of independent, but united cantons that form one single country, working together towards an improved collective to ensure peaceful harmony.

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