Public holidays in Switzerland 2016
Here is a list of Swiss national public holidays in 2016, plus regional holidays, daylight savings, Mother's and Fathers Days, school holidays and other important dates in the Swiss calendar.
In Switzerland there are national public holidays observed across the nation, as well as religious holidays and local holidays that are only observed in certain cantons around Switzerland. This means that cantons across Switzerland do not all have the same public holidays (un jour férié in French, feiertag in German).
Many of the public holidays are religious holidays and these are usually only observed in the cantons where Catholicism is the main religion.
The most important national holiday is the Swiss National Day, which falls on 1 August every year and is technically the only official federal holiday. You can read which public holidays coincide with Switzerland's festivals, which are a great way to travel around the country and experience traditional Swiss culture.
National public holidays (bank holidays) in Switzerland are taken very seriously, with almost all shops and public institutions closed. If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, workers may take either the Monday or Friday off to create a long weekend.
Holidays in Switzerland are generally observed on their calendar date, however, some cantons and organisations may allocate a weekday off it the public holiday falls on a weekend.
Swiss national and public holidays in 2016
(N) = national holiday
(R) = regional holiday only observed in certain cantons
January 1: New Year's Day (Neujahrstag) (N)
January 2: Berchtold's Day (Berchtoldstag) (R) – Aargau, Bern, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Obwalden, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Vaud, Zug, Zurich.
January 6: Epiphany (Heilige Drei Konige) (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri.
March 1: Republic day (R) – Neuchâtel (this region declared itself a republic and part of Switzerland in 1848).
March 19: St Joseph's Day (Josefstag) (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais.
March 25: Good Friday (Karfreitag) (R) – all cantons except Ticino and Valais.
March 28: Easter Monday (Ostermontag) (N) – all except Valais.
April 7: Näfelser Fahrt (pilgrimage to the battle site) (R) – Glarus.
April 18: Sechseläuten (6 o'clock ringing of the bells, third Monday of April) (R) – afternoon only, Zurich.
May 1: Labour Day / May Day (Tag der Arbeit) (R) – Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Zurich.
May 5: Ascension Day (Auffahrt) (40 days after Easter) (N)
May 16: Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (Pfingstmontag) (R) – all except Valais.
May 26: Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Grisons, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug.
June 29: St Peter's / St Paul's Day (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Ticino.
August 1: Swiss National Day (Bundesfeier) (N)
August 15: Assumption Day (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, St Gallen, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug.
September 12: Knabenschiessen (R) – Zurich
September 18: The Fedral Fast (Buß-und Bettag) – Regional differences include: Geneva (celebrates 'Jeûne genevois' on September 8); stores in Bern, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud generally close for 'Bettagsmontag' on September 20.
November 1: All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, St Gallen, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug.
December 8: Immaculate Conception (Maria Empfangnis) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Graubünden, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug.
December 25: Christmas Day (Weihnachten) (N) – as Christmas falls on a Sunday in 2016, some cantons may observe the holiday on 26 December.
December 26: Boxing Day/St Stephen's Day (Stephenstag) – generally considered a normal working day in Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud.
December 31: Restoration Day (R) – Geneva.
The Swiss National Day
Every year on 1 August, Switzerland celebrates the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. Each Swiss commune offers a day of federal unity with firework displays, concerts, public speeches and presentations. Thousands of people attend festivities in the largest cities (Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Bern and Lugano). The main celebrations take place at the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen and at the Ruetli Meadows alongside Lake Lucerne.
Other important dates
May 8: Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May)
June 5: Father's Day (first Sunday in June)
March 27: Clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time (DST) starts.
October 30: Clocks go back one hour (DST ends).
School holidays are set by each canton. You can find the website of your own canton here.
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