Swiss National Day to kick off in Basel


Swiss National Day

There will be a great many celebrations for the Swiss National Day coming up, and event organisers in Basel are hoping to light up the Rhine in honour of the country’s heritage.

In the northern Swiss city that shares borders with France and Germany, there will be entertainment for the crowds with a variety of live musical acts into the early hours of the morning. There are nearly a hundred food stands and craft stalls as well. Swiss National Day is typically held on 1 August, but in Basel, the celebration kicks off the night before as the traditional start of revelry.

The party will take place from the harbour to the Marktplatz. There will also be events in Grossbasel from the Johanniterbrücke to the Mittlere Brücke. The festival also occupies the area along the Kleinbasler side of the Rhine from the Johanniterbrücke to the Wettsteinbrücke.

The evening city festival starts from 5pm and a spectacular fireworks display will light up the Rhine at 11pm. One of the river-based activities is seeing the fire-fighting boat Christophorus in action. There will be a number of attractions on the Marktplatz, or market square. The festival is designed to appreciate Swiss history and the importance of the river to Basel’s growth as a major European centre and popular destination for European river cruises.

Swiss National Day, in German called Bundesfeier, celebrates the creation of the Swiss Confederacy as far back as 1889. Throughout the country, there are a great number of events the Swiss take part in to show off their patriotism.

Following the fireworks in Basel, many Swiss enjoy the national holiday on the following day. Traditionally, the day is started off with a hearty farmer's brunch. Not only available in a number of restaurants, there is a network of farmers in towns across the country ready to serve more than 150,000 meals on the day.

After getting your fill of locally-sourced food, another popular tradition is riding the docile Boldernhof cows. In many towns and villages, the cow rides are set up to delight residents and spectators. If cow riding isn’t your thing, you can show off your strength in a Schwingen wrestling match. Set in a ring of sawdust, two combatants will attempt to expel the other from the ring by holding onto each other's baggy pants and belts.

Image Credit: Bossi (flickr.com)