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Easter

Easter 2019 and 2020

Easter time in Switzerland provides the opportunity to observe a host of interesting traditions, an abundance of delicious Easter dishes, and beautiful springtime weather in the Alps. Easter is celebrated with a public holiday on Good Friday and another on Easter Monday.

YearDateDayHolidayCantons
201919 AprFriGood Friday National except TI & VS
22 AprMonEaster Monday National except NE, SO, VS
& ZG
202010 AprFriGood Friday National except TI & VS
13 AprMonEaster Monday National except NE, SO, VS
& ZG

As in the rest of the West, Easter in Switzerland is more and more commercialized and less and less religious in nature. Even 50 years ago, religious observances were much stronger, but today, Easter egg painting, Easter egg hunts, Easter cakes, and chocolate rabbits are the things many most associate with the season.

Some of the most notable modern Swiss Easter traditions include the following:

  • The cuckoo bird is thought to deliver the Easter eggs each year instead of the Easter Bunny, though the eggs are still brought in Easter baskets. Cuckoos are thought to be harbingers of good luck and hope.
  • In the western cantons near France, the French tradition of the church bells flying to Rome the week prior to Easter holds sway. It is also believed that the bells, not the cuckoo, are responsible for delivering the eggs.
  • On Easter Sunday, eggs hidden in the garden, house, or other location are hunted down by children who place them into their Easter baskets. Whoever finds the most eggs is rewarded with extra gifts like chocolates and sugar-eggs.
  • In some of the more traditional villages, the villagers are accustomed to go about town giving gifts of cheese, fresh bread, and wine around Easter time. This adds greatly to the cheer of the season, and it strengthens friendships among neighbours as well.
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