Unforgettable Swiss National Day: Paragliding, Parade and Flags

Unforgettable Swiss National Day: Paragliding, Parade and Flags

All of a sudden, I  realised that although I grew up and lived in Switzerland for 11 years, I had never experienced Swiss National Day. Early August is the time of Summer school vacations and I was always away in Italy with my parents, missing the celebrations of the establishment of Switzerland.

Farmers at Swiss National Day Parade

Farmers at Swiss National Day Parade

On the 1st of August 1291 the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwald swore an oath of mutual support in case of an external aggression endangering their freedom, thus setting the foundation of what would become the Swiss Confederacy. It took however 600 years before the government in 1891 declared the 1st of August as the official Swiss National Day.

The National Day is celebrated in every municipality across Switzerland with bonfires, fireworks and often parades and other activities and entertainment.

Parade Swiss National Day

Parade on Swiss National Day

In Interlaken, the houses and hotels were all decorated with flags of Switzerland – red with a bold white cross in the middle – and the ones of the 26 cantons. Everything in this lovely town, nestled between the Lake of Thun and the Lake of Brienz, was joyful and colourful.

Paragliding Interlaken

Paragliding above Interlaken

How exciting being part of a group of people paragliding with the swiss flags to celebrate Swiss National Day!

In the morning, I had the privilege to do a very special tandem paragliding flight together with a group of people, each one with a flag fluttering during the flight.

It was a perfect day, with clear blue skies and a little breeze up the crest from where we would run and soar. While the excellent team of Skywings prepared the colourful wings on the grass, I had a chat with a few of the people who would take with me this very special flight, taking place only once a year during Swiss National Day. There were people from all over the world, all keen to fly over this beautiful region. A short run and we were up in the air, overlooking the majestic Jungfrau and the glaciers, the valley and the lakes, our flags waving to the people gathered in town and looking at us floating in the air. It was wonderful and so exciting!

Swiss National Day Parade

Swiss National Day Parade: Farmers in Traditional Costumes

The celebrations were only at the beginning and in the afternoon, under a burning sun and an uncommon heat, it was time for the picturesque parade along Interlaken main road. One after the other, small groups walked across the town with their traditional costumes, evoking famous characters of the Swiss history and traditions.

Wilhelm Tell and Family

Wilhelm Tell and Family

Wilhelm Tell and his family, the farmers and their cows, people wearing their traditional costumes, the soldiers of the past and so on. More than ever, the 1st of August was a proof of how much the Swiss people are  proud of their traditions, no matter that it is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world.

Jungfrau at Sunset

The Jungfrau at Sunset

No celebrations can end without fireworks, and from the restaurant at the top of Harder Kulm, the mountain overlooking Interlaken with a fantastic view on the Jungfrau and the lakes, we enjoyed the fireworks taking place in all the towns in the valley below.

Aperitif Overlooking the Jungfrau

Aperitif Overlooking the Jungfrau

Celebrating Swiss National Day was a lovely and special experience, but there are many other local traditional events throughout Switzerland during the year which are worth attending at to get the feeling of the country’s history and its deep-rooted traditions.

 

Note: Warm thanks to the Jungfrau Mountain Railways for the invitation to discover this amazing region, and to Skywings for an unforgettable paragliding experience.  As always, all views are mine and mine only.

 

More reading: Hiking through the Meadows to Lake Arnensee

 

8 Comments
  • Pingback:Green River, Turquoise Lake and a Castle: Welcome to Thun! « Daily Nerdy
    Posted at 12:59h, 16 May Reply

    […] revolves around the medieval castle, the river Aare and Lake Thun, on whose opposite side stands Interlaken, a very popular tourist destination and the gateway to the […]

  • Pingback:Green River, Turquoise Lake and a Castle: Welcome to Thun!
    Posted at 00:26h, 16 May Reply

    […] revolves around the medieval castle, the river Aare and Lake Thun, on whose opposite side stands Interlaken, a very popular tourist destination and the gateway to the […]

  • Pingback:Jungfraujoch: White Wonderland Amid Stunning Mountains and Glaciers
    Posted at 01:07h, 02 January Reply

    […] More reading: ¬†Unforgettable Swiss National Day: Paragliding, Parade and Flags¬† […]

  • Pingback:Unforgettable Swiss National Day: Paragliding, ...
    Posted at 18:31h, 11 August Reply

    […] Suddenly, I realised that although I lived in Switzerland for 11 years, I had never experienced Swiss National Day. Early August is time of Summer school vacations  […]

  • Lyns
    Posted at 09:02h, 12 August Reply

    Ooh I love the sound of ghe tandem with the flag.
    I must try it one day soon!

  • Traveling Ted
    Posted at 18:30h, 10 August Reply

    I love the traditional outfits and of course the beautiful Swiss scenery.

  • Frank
    Posted at 16:38h, 10 August Reply

    Nice photos. We went a few years ago to Lauterbrunnen and thought the whole area was spectacular: http://bbqboy.net/lauterbrunnen-and-the-berner-oberland-switzerland/
    Hope to come back one day!
    Frank (bbqboy)

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 13:34h, 10 August Reply

    How amazing you not only got to finally experience the Swiss National Day, but got to take part in a special way!

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