Holidays in Switzerland

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This article lists public holidays in Switzerland . Depending on the canton, the number of public holidays varies from 7 in Geneva to 14 in Aargau, Freiburg, Lucerne, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Zug and 15 in Graubünden.

Overview of the holidays

National and general holidays

In Switzerland, only August 1st is set as a public holiday for the entire country at the federal level . The regulation of all other public holidays is a matter for the cantons alone . Due to this fact, there are only three other days apart from the national celebration, which are also recognized throughout Switzerland: New Year's Day , Ascension Day and Christmas Day (since Easter and Whitsun always fall on a Sunday, they are not mentioned as a public holiday). In large parts of the country, Good Friday , Easter Monday , Whit Monday and St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) are also celebrated. All other public holidays are limited to a few cantons or only to certain districts and communes within individual cantons. There are several types of public holidays in Switzerland:

  • Public holidays equivalent to Sundays in accordance with Art. 20a Paragraph 1 ArG : In addition to the federal public holiday, each canton can equate a maximum of eight days a year with Sundays, i. H. give them the same status at cantonal level as that stipulated in federal law for Sundays. Not all cantons make full use of this number (see AR , FR and GR ).
  • Public holidays which, due to the definition of their date, inevitably fall on a Sunday, and are therefore trivially equated with Sundays and are therefore not listed separately in the following. These are Easter Sunday (all of Switzerland), Pentecost Sunday (all of Switzerland) and the Federal Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer Day (all of Switzerland except Canton Geneva).
  • Legally recognized public rest days : For these days, the same regulations usually apply as for public holidays that are equivalent to Sundays, but the legal basis for this was determined by the canton or the municipality and can therefore differ in details from the regulations for Sundays. Due to the possibility of defining cantonal rest days, in some cantons there may be more than the nine non-working holidays provided for in federal law (see AI , SZ and UR ).
  • legally recognized half public rest days
  • Holidays that are not legally recognized, on which regionally, however, the majority of work is completely suspended or restricted (e.g. work-free from noon, etc.)

The following overview shows the most important and relatively widely celebrated holidays. Events that are only celebrated in small parts of Switzerland are not taken into account here and will only be addressed in the next section .

holiday date Public holiday in the cantons:
Canton ZurichCanton Zurich ZH Canton BernCanton Bern BE Canton lucerneCanton lucerne LU Canton of UriCanton of Uri UR Canton of SchwyzCanton of Schwyz SZ Canton of ObwaldenCanton of Obwalden OW Canton of NidwaldenCanton of Nidwalden NW Canton of GlarusCanton of Glarus GL Canton of ZugCanton of Zug ZG Canton of FriborgCanton of Friborg FR Canton of SolothurnCanton of Solothurn SO Canton of Basel-StadtCanton of Basel-Stadt BS Canton of Basel-CountryCanton of Basel-Country BL Canton of SchaffhausenCanton of Schaffhausen SH Canton of Appenzell AusserrhodenCanton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden AR Canton of Appenzell InnerrhodenCanton of Appenzell Innerrhoden AI Canton of St. GallenCanton of St. Gallen SG canton of Grisonscanton of Grisons GR Kanton AargauKanton Aargau AG Canton of ThurgauCanton of Thurgau TG Canton of TicinoCanton of Ticino TI Canton of VaudCanton of Vaud VD Canton of ValaisCanton of Valais VS Canton of NeuchâtelCanton of Neuchâtel NE Canton of GenevaCanton of Geneva GE Canton of JuraCanton of Jura JU
New Years Day January 1st A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A.
Berchtold's Day January 2nd D. A. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. d a 1 A. A. D 1 D. B.
Holy Three Kings 6th January B. B. a A.
St. Joseph's Day 19th March a B. A. B. a a B. A.
Good Friday Friday before Easter A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A.
Easter Monday Monday after Easter A. A. D. B. B. D. D. A. D. D. d A. A. A. A. A. A. A. a A. A. A. D. A. A.
Labor Day 1st of May A. c C. A. A. B. D 2 B. B. A. A.
Driveway 39 days after Easter A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A.
Whit Monday 50 days after Easter A. A. D. B. B. D. D. B. D. D. a A. A. A. A. A. A. A. a A. B. A. D. A. A.
Corpus Christi 60 days after Easter A. A. A. A. A. A. a a a A. a a B. A. a A.
Federal celebration August 1st A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A.
Assumption Day 15th of August A. A. A. A. A. A. a a a B. a a A. A. B.
All Saints Day November 1st A. A. A. A. A. A. A. a a B. A. a a A. A. B.
Immaculate conception December 8th B. A. B. A. A. A. a a B. a a B. A.
Christmas Day 25 December A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. A.
St. Stephen's Day December 26th A. A. A. B 1 B. D. D. A. D. D. a A. A. A. A 1 A 1 A. A. a 1 A. A.   1
total 10 9 14th 14th 14th 13 13 10 14th 14th 14th 9 11 10 8th 12 9 15th 14th 10 14th 8th 9 11 8th 12
Total without D / d 9 9 11 14th 14th 9 10 9 10 10 13 9 11 9 8th 12 9 14th 13 10 14th 8th 9 8th 7th 12


A. Public holiday equivalent to Sundays in accordance with Art. 20a Paragraph 1 ArG in the entire canton
a Sundays or other legally recognized public holiday only in some municipalities in the canton. For some large-scale events, however, restrictions or celebrations may also be expected in the other parts of the canton
B. Legally recognized public rest day throughout the canton
C. Legally recognized half-day public holiday (usually from 12 noon) throughout the canton
c Legally recognized half-day public holiday (usually from 12 noon) only for public service employees , but is usually celebrated by all working groups
D. Public holiday that is not legally recognized, but on which, as a rule, work is still off in the entire canton
d Legally not recognized public holiday, on which, however, there is usually rest in some certain municipalities
1 The following special cases must be observed for Berchtold's Day and St. Stephen's Day:
  • In the respective municipalities of AG , both days are only legally recognized if they do not fall on a Tuesday or Saturday ; this also applies to St. Stephen's Day in the cantons AI , AR and UR . The historical reason for this regulation is that there should never be three consecutive days off in order to ensure basic services. Today this regulation is hardly observed any more, so there is usually rest on both days of each year.
  • In NE , both days are legally recognized if they fall on a Monday . In practice, however, Berchtold's Day is usually celebrated every year, but St. Stephen's Day only if it actually falls on a Monday.
2 Although May 1st is not an official holiday in the AG , the vast majority of companies only work until noon. If May 1st falls on a Monday, work is suspended all day almost everywhere.

Regional and local holidays

In addition to the national or general public holidays mentioned above, there is an almost unmanageable number of regional and local public holidays in Switzerland. Often these are limited to individual districts or just a few municipalities. It is not only about commemorations of local events, but z. B. also around church patronage festivals or even just market days. Some of these local holidays are recognized by law, but quite a few are traditionally celebrated even though they are not legally protected.

The following table shows a few examples of such holidays. A much more detailed overview can be found in the sources listed in the web links section .

holiday date Public holiday in the cantons Partly public holiday in the cantons
Carnival 1 Second Monday before Ash Wednesday SZ
Thursday before Ash Wednesday LU , UR , NW SZ , SG , GR
Monday before Ash Wednesday GL ZH , LU , UR , SZ , ZG , SG , AG
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday SZ , NW LU , UR , BL , SG , AG , TI
Ash Wednesday NW SZ , BL , AR , TI , JU
Friday after Ash Wednesday TI
Monday after Ash Wednesday BS BL (Unt. Canton part Nachm.), ZH
Tuesday after Ash Wednesday FR
Wednesday after Ash Wednesday BS BL (Lower Canton Part Nachm.)
Anniversary of the proclamation of the republic 1st March NE (excl.)
Näfelser ride mostly first Thursday in April GL (excl.)
Sechseläuten mostly the third Monday in April City of Zurich , Schlieren (excl.)
Festival of Independence 23rd June JU (excl.)
Peter and Paul June 29th TI LU , GR
Geneva prayer day Thursday after the first
Sunday in September
GE (excl.)
Boy shooting second weekend in September
(+ half the Monday after)
City of Zurich (and agglomeration of Zurich ) (excl.)
Bedday Monday Monday after the Federal
Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer Day
Legally recognized only in VD
(Lundi du Jeûne)
is in NE and parts of BE committed
in VS a bank holiday.
Mauritian Day September 22 AI (excl.) Without Oberegg district
Brother Klaus 25th of September OW (excl.)
St. Ursentag 30. September City of Solothurn (excl.)
St. Leodegar ( Guardian Angel Festival ) October 2nd City of Lucerne (excl.)
Escalade de Genève 12th of December GE (excl.)
Restoration of the republic December 31 GE (excl.)
1 The days around Carnival are (with a few exceptions limited to individual communities) not public holidays. However, in the cantons mentioned there are usually restrictions due to the large-scale celebrations (for example shops close at lunchtime or don't open at all).

Regulations for nationally active companies

In Switzerland there are so many regionally different holiday regulations that full compliance with nationally active companies (e.g. Swiss Post and Swiss Federal Railways ) would be a major obstacle to a regular workflow. It was therefore agreed that in such companies and in the federal administration only the following public holidays, which are already recognized in large parts of Switzerland, are considered public holidays: New Year's Day, Berchtold's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Federal Celebration, Christmas Day, St. Stephen's Day. This stipulation applies throughout Switzerland and even if one of these public holidays is normally not a public holiday in a canton or region.

In long-distance public transport, the public holiday schedule therefore only applies on the stated public holidays; on all other days, even in cantons on which this day is a public holiday, travel is carried out according to working days. On the other hand, in cantons such as Basel, St. Gallen, Wallis or Ticino, where Berchtold's Day is a working day, the public holiday schedule applies. Regional haulage companies, on the other hand, observe the locally applicable regulations and drive on all days that are actually celebrated as public holidays according to the Sunday and public holiday schedule and otherwise according to the weekday or Saturday schedule. Exceptions are possible for public holidays that only apply in individual municipalities.

Forms of regional differences

It is widespread that the expressly Catholic holidays ( Corpus Christi , Assumption of Mary , All Saints' Day and Mary's Conception ) are only free in regions with a predominantly Catholic population and regular working days in Reformed regions. For example, the four public holidays mentioned apply in the Catholic canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden , but not in the reformed Appenzell Ausserrhoden . In the canton of Valais , the purely Catholic holidays have a higher priority than the additional days after the major Christian holidays almost everywhere; the days mentioned above and St. Joseph's Day are legally recognized as public holidays there, but Easter Monday and Whit Monday as well as Good Friday , which was originally only free in reformed areas, are officially not days off.

In the traditionally mixed cantons, there are also different regulations within a canton. The exclusively Catholic holidays in the canton of Friborg apply in all districts except in most of the municipalities of the Reformed Lake District .

In the canton of Aargau , the regional differences also have denominational reasons, but the subdivision is more diverse here, as the traditions in Reformed, Catholic, Christian Catholic (Rheinfelden) and mixed Reformed-Catholic (Baden) areas are taken into account: There are (apart from some public holidays only celebrated within individual communities and May 1st, which is often non-working in this canton, but not an official public holiday) a total of six different combinations of the holidays Berchtold's Day , Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Assumption Day, All Saints Day, Conception Day and St. Stephen's Day . Since these confusing regulations were found to be a hindrance, especially by representatives of the economy, a new regulation for the Aargau holidays was planned from 2008, which had also been decided by the government: the Catholic holidays Corpus Christi, Assumption of Mary, All Saints' Day and the Conception of Mary should be included in the relevant Regions are omitted, but Berchtold's Day, Easter Monday, Whit Monday and St. Stephen's Day should be canton-wide holidays and the exceptions regarding Berchtold's and St. Stephen's Day (see above), which are usually no longer observed, should be abolished on this occasion. After protests mainly from the Catholic Churches, but also within the population, the changes were withdrawn by the Grand Council of the Canton at the end of 2006 , so that the previous holiday regulation continues to apply in Aargau (see Aargau Introductory Act on Labor Law of November 8, 2011, § 6, and list of public holidays in Aargau).

In the denominationally divided canton of Graubünden, there are seven public holidays across the canton in addition to the national celebration. The municipalities are entitled to determine at least one additional public holiday. Accordingly, some of the Catholic festivals are public holidays in many parishes, and in some places there are festivals of local church and patron saints that are celebrated as public holidays.

In the cantons of Lucerne , Solothurn and Schwyz in particular , most municipalities celebrate so-called church patronage festivals on the day of the local patron saint , which means that there are a large number of regional holidays that only apply in a single municipality or, if necessary, within a district.

Only the cantons of Vaud and Thurgau have holidays that are neither regionally valid nor legally recognized, but still mostly celebrated. In some other cantons, such as Schaffhausen and Nidwalden , there are public holidays that are celebrated by the majority, although they are not legally recognized, but none that are only valid in certain municipalities.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Aargau Collection of Laws 961.200 - Introductory Act to Labor Law (EG ArR) of November 8, 2011, in force since September 1, 2012.
  2. Canton Aargau, Department of Economics and Home Affairs: Public Holidays in Canton Aargau (PDF, 25 kB).

Web links

Databases online

PDF lists