As I sit here on a Stat Holiday in Canada, I'm thinking about how fun it is to celebrate Swiss National Day in Switzerland.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, the first of August has been celebrated as National Day. On this date, the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, who constituted the birth around which presentday Switzerland existed over the next 500 years.
The Men from these three cantons "at the beginning of the month of August" swore eternal allegiance to one another, promising mutual help and assistance. The alliance was formed against the Habsburgs of Austria Royalty, who at this time were trying to strengthen their position in the area leading to the Gotthard Pass.
August 1st is celebrated exclusively in the communities. A radio and tv broadcast was made by the President Schmid. In tourist communities such as around Lake Leman fireworks can be seen abundantly. Bonfires, mainly on hills or elevated ground, recall the expulsion of foreign baliffsin the fourteenth century. Children carrying lighted paper lanterns walk through the streets at night. Public and private buildings are decorated with national, cantonal, and community flags, and the bakers bake bread rolls with a little Swiss flag on them.
A special kind of celebration takes place at the Rhine Falls at Neuhausen with a magnificent fireworks display also attracts throngs of spectators. The cascading water, rushing among the rocks before majestically descending 75 feet to the Rhine below, provides an impressive natural backdrop for the ceremonies.