Today is the Swiss equivalent of the American Fourth of July (See the Grössmunster church pictured with the festive Swiss flags in honor of the day) . Over 700 years ago, the Switzerland became a country when three cantons formed an alliance. They signed the “Federal Charter” sometime in early August of 1291, so today, the Swiss have chosen the first day of the month as their official day to celebrate their nation’s birth.
When Chari told me that I’d be around for the holiday, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Would there be fireworks? Hot dog roasts? Family time? The answer: Yes!
Surprisingly, there’s a lot in common between the holidays. The Swiss pyros have been lighting off fire crackers for the past couple days. I almost wet my pants last night when I was walking along in downtown Lucerne and “boom!” a huge fireworks show started right above me. Some warning would have been nice.
On my morning walk today, I noticed a lot more people on the path. The Swiss get a day off on this national holiday, and most businesses are closed. I saw lots of families along the path stopping off to build a fire and roast sausages. Apparently, roasting sausages over a fire is a big deal here. I must say, the sausages are pretty yummy. Last time I was here Chris and Chari took me to a glacial lake in the mountains and roasted a selection of delectable sausages over a fire, as we sat on the shore. Yes, I’m spoiled.
But in addition to what we’re familiar with, there are some uniquely Swiss additions, of course. Chari took me to downtown Zurich to see some of the events. There were lots of people running around in strange costumes, which Chari informed me were native Swiss outfits. They were serving lots of Swiss beer, wine, and some delicious hard apple cider (that’s me demonstrating my Swiss support and drinking a bottle of cider).
The Swiss musicians were also out in force. I got to see and hear authentic Swiss yodeling from a Swiss boy choir, all dressed in cute little Swiss outfits. Of course, I had to find a way to share that experience with you.
One traditional form of Swiss music is performed with an Alp Horn, a humongous wooden horn that rests on the ground. I’ve always wondered what one sounded like, and now, I know. In fact, I got to hear a group of three of them! Now, you get to hear them too.