Throughout the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, as well as villages across the country, the whole of Switzerland is preparing for Swiss National Day on 1st August.
This annual celebration honours the pledge of eternal allegiance between the three alpine communities whose coalition is regarded as the foundation of Switzerland. Under threat from outside aggressors, their oath of confederation served to protect the country.
The official National Day celebrations take place on the Rütli field above Lake Lucerne, the site of the historic bond of brotherhood. Formalities see crowds addressed by the Federal President with political speeches from prominent public figures within the alpine districts. Festivities however, spread throughout the country in remembrance of the event, with bonfires lit to represent mountaintop beacons of fire that were used by Swiss forefathers to warn off approaching danger.
Children parade through patriotically decorated streets with paper lanterns, whilst villages are brought together over a feast. Celebrations are set to local music and are concluded with impressive firework displays.
Commemoration of this historical event has been celebrated for many years, but it wasnt until 1993 that the Swiss government granted the 1st August as a national holiday. At this time, the Swiss Farmers Association initiated a new tradition 'brunch on the farm'. Now, over 200 farms across the country partake in offering fresh farm produce to guests as a way of celebrating al fresco living in Switzerland today.
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