Swiss National Day

Less than a month after celebrating the independence of the United States of America, Swiss-Americans celebrate another national holiday that is just as important. Swiss National Day, set on August 1st, recognizes the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291 with fireworks, bonfire, and festive Swiss lanterns, music, and cuisine.

History

Switzerland was founded as an independent nation in 1291, through the alliance of the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden. This holiday has been celebrated since 1891, but was only recognized as the official national holiday in 1994. Read more on Wikipedia.

Celebrating With the NHS

The NHS celebrates Swiss National Day every year with an event many NHS members affectionately refer to as our “First of August Celebration!”  On the Saturday closest to August 1st, we gather at a farm outside Doylestown to enjoy swimming in the spring-fed pool, listening and dancing to very familiar tunes performed by accordionist Don Bitterlich, and the traditional serving of Fleischkaese and Ham garnished with member-sponsored side dishes and dessert.

The event closes out with the address of our Swiss Club president and the playing of the taped speech by the Swiss Bundespräsident. We all (especially the children) enjoy the lampion parade, the lighting of the bonfire as well as the singing of traditional Swiss songs.

The NHS has invited the community to celebrate National Day since 1951, at a variety of venues:

  • Fred Vogel’s Farm in Somerton, PA (1951)
  • the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein in Philadelphia (1970-1972)
  • the Swiss Consulate in Philadelphia (1973-1976) with a Cheese Fondue (in the Summer time?)
  • the Schultz- and Mullestein farm (1977/1978)
  • at the Riverfront Theater in Philadelphia (1979) with a record attendance of 230 who enjoyed the performance of the Jodelklub Edelweiss of Zofingen, several times at the Swiss Pines
  • Owl’s Nest Country Club and the Mullestein farm (1980-1986), the ’86 even was rained out, but attendees still enjoyed the speech given by Dr. Samuel Laeuchli and the taped message of the Bundespraesident
  • at the VFW in Horsham (1987-1988)
  • the Swiss Pines (1989)
  • the Saunders Wood Park (1990)
  • again several times at the Swiss Pines and Fallow Hill Farm (1991-1995)
  • the Fenimore Woods Park (1996-1997)
  • and since 1998 at the beautiful and well liked Cottageville farm in Doylestown, hosted by Mr. Gjoko Ruzio until 2011, when Mr. & Mrs. Peter & Peri Stampfl bought the farm.