The Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden observes the Roman Catholic feast day of Saint Mauritius as a regional public holiday. Although Saint Mauritius, more commonly known as Saint Maurice, hailed from Egypt according to legend, he became popular in many parts of Europe during the Middle Ages, including in parts of Switzerland.
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The feast day falls on 22 September each year. It is an off-work and out-of-school day for the people of the two cantons that celebrate it, and local government offices and most businesses will also shut down for the day. The holiday is often referred to simply as Mauritius Day.
Saint Maurice is famous as the reputed leader of the famed Theban Roman Legion. He is thought to have lived in the A.D. 200s. It is said that not only Maurice but all 1,000 of his men were Christians at a time when that was considered dangerous to the empire. His legion was sent from Egypt to Gaul to put down a revolt, but when he and his men refused to slaughter fellow Christians, they were all executed.
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