Living in Switzerland? Here’s a list of all of Switzerland’s public holidays you need to know in 2020, as well as other important dates to make a note of on your calendar.
Whether you’re living in Switzerland or just visiting, it’s important to note the dates of Switzerland’s public holidays and important dates. This is because on some of these dates, businesses and public institutions will close or have reduced hours.
To ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, our guide puts together a list of Switzerland’s public holidays as well as the most important dates for your calendar.
Introduction to Switzerland’s public holidays
While there are some Swiss holidays observed across the nation, certain religious holidays and local holidays are only marked in specific cantons and regions around Switzerland. However, this means that not all cantons across Switzerland have the same Swiss public holidays (holiday is un jour férié in French, feiertag in German).
Many Swiss holidays are religious and thus usually observed only in the cantons where Catholicism is the main religion. National holidays in Switzerland (or Swiss bank holidays) are taken very seriously, in fact, with almost all shops and public institutions closed.
The most important of all holidays in Switzerland is the Swiss National Day, which falls on 1 August every year and is technically the only official federal holiday. You can also read which public holidays coincide with Switzerland’s festivals, which are a great way to travel around the country and experience traditional Swiss culture and regional Swiss food. One of the most colorful Swiss holidays is carnival, when the Swiss let their hair down and celebrate.
If a Swiss national holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, workers may take either the Monday or Friday off to create a long weekend. Bank holidays in Switzerland are generally observed on their calendar date, however, some cantons and organizations may allocate a weekday off it the Swiss public holiday falls on a weekend.
Public holidays in Switzerland in 2020
(N) = national holiday
(R) = regional holiday only observed in certain cantons
- Wednesday, 1 January: New Year’s Day (Neujahrstag) (N);
- Thursday, 2 January: Berchtold’s Day (Berchtoldstag) (R) – Aargau, Bern, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Obwalden, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Vaud, Zug, Zurich;
- Monday, 6 January: Epiphany (Heilige Drei Konige) (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri;
- Sunday, 1 March: Republic Day (R) – Neuchâtel; this region declared itself a republic and part of Switzerland in 1848;
- Thursday, 19 March: St Joseph’s Day (Josefstag) (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais;
- Thursday, 2 April: Näfelser Fahrt (pilgrimage to the battle site) (R) – Glarus;
- Monday, 20 April: Sechseläuten (6 o’clock ringing of the bells, third Monday of April) (R) – afternoon only, Zurich;
- Friday, 10 April: Good Friday (Karfreitag) (R) – all cantons except Ticino and Valais;
- Monday, 13 April: Easter Monday (Ostermontag) (N) – celebrated to different degrees depending on the canton and region;
- Friday, 1 May: Labour Day/May Day (Tag der Arbeit) (R) – Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Zurich;
- Thursday, 21 May: Ascension Day (Auffahrt) (40 days after Easter) (N);
- Monday, 1 June: Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (Pfingstmontag) (R) – celebrated to varying degrees depending on the canton and region, however;
- Thursday, 11 June: Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Grisons, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug;
- Tuesday, 23 June: Fête d’Indépendance – Jura;
- Monday, 29 June: St Peter’s/St Paul’s Day (R) – Graubünden, Lucerne, Ticino;
Public holidays later in the year
- Saturday, 1 August: Swiss National Day (Bundesfeier) (N);
- Saturday, 15 August: Assumption Day (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, St Gallen, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug;
- Thursday, 10 September: Jeune genevois (R) – Geneva;
- Monday, 14 September: Knabenschiessen (R) – Zurich;
- Sunday, 20 September: The Federal Fast (Buß-und Bettag), a federal day of thanksgiving, repentance and prayer – Regional differences include: Geneva (which celebrates Jeûne genevois on 6 September); stores in Bern, Neuchâtel, Vaud generally close for Bettagsmontag on September 16 (Monday after the third Sunday);
- Friday, 25 September: St Niklaus von Flüe (R) – Obwalden;
- Sunday, 1 November: All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, St Gallen, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug;
- Tuesday, 8 December: Immaculate Conception (Maria Empfangnis) (R) – Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Graubünden, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug;
- Friday, 25 December: Christmas Day (Weihnachten) (N);
- Saturday, 26 December: St Stephen’s Day (Stephenstag) – generally considered a normal working day in Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud;
- Thursday, 31 December: Restoration Day (R) – Geneva; a commemoration of the re-establishment of Geneva as a republic in 1813.
Important dates in Switzerland in 2020
- 2–4 March: Carnival; although not typically an official public holiday, this is a widely-celebrated Swiss holiday
- 29 March (Sunday): Clocks go forward one hour as a result of daylight saving time (DST) starting
- 10 May (Sunday): Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May)
- 7 June (Sunday): Father’s Day (first Sunday in June)
- 25 October (Sunday): Clocks go back one hour as a result of daylight saving time (DST) ending
Swiss National Day
Every year on 1 August, Switzerland celebrates one of the country’s most important holidays: the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. Each Swiss commune offers a day of federal unity with firework displays, concerts, public speeches, as well as presentations. In fact, 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 in addition to the Ruetli Meadows alongside Lake Lucerne.
Carnival in Switzerland
Carnival in Switzerland is an unwritten license for the normally well-behaved Swiss to let their hair down. Parades and events take place across the country, while some areas host massive parties. You can also read more about the best events in our guide to carnival in Switzerland.
School holidays in Switzerland
Parents can also read our guide to school holidays in Switzerland.