Zurich celebrates a number of public holidays throughout the year, each with its own unique traditions and cultural significance. The most important Swiss holiday is National Day, celebrated on August 1st, which commemorates the country's founding in 1291. If you are living in Switzerland, you can expect to enjoy 12 public holidays.
Other notable holidays include Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, which are celebrated with traditional foods, decorations, and religious services. In addition to these Christian holidays, Zurich also celebrates several secular public holidays, such as New Year's Day, Labor Day, and the Swiss National Exhibition, or "Schwingfest," which is a popular festival featuring traditional Swiss wrestling competitions.
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Types of Swiss holidays
There are several types of holidays in Zurich, including:
Zurich public holidays
There are 12 public holidays recognised in Zurich, these include national holidays like Good Friday and Easter Monday plus two public holidays celebrated solely in Zurich. The canton of Zurich may also have additional regional public holidays which are not observed in the rest of Switzerland.
Zurich religious holidays
Religious holidays play a significant role in Zurich's cultural heritage, with celebrations and traditions that strengthen the community. Zurich celebrates common religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, as well as unique festivals like Sechseläuten. The city hosts markets, parades, and decorations during these festive times, with a focus on handmade crafts, food, and traditional costumes. These celebrations are an important part of Zurich's identity and help to preserve its cultural heritage.
Easter in Zurich
Easter (Ostern) is a significant religious holiday in Zurich, celebrated with traditional processions, church services, and cultural events. Easter in Zurich is from April 7 - April 10, 2023. Good Friday (Karfreitag) and Easter Monday (Ostermontag) are public holidays. The city hosts an annual Easter market, featuring handmade crafts, decorations, and traditional foods. Locals also take part in the Easter parade, dressed in traditional costumes and carrying colorful lanterns. Churches in Zurich hold special services, and the city features Easter-themed exhibitions and concerts. These events celebrate the city's cultural heritage and provide an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their faith.
Zurich has several unique holidays, including Sechseläuten on April 17th and Knabenschiessen on September 11th where people typically work in the morning and have the afternoon off. The Züri Fäscht (July 7-9) and the Street Parade on August 12th are also popular events that showcase music, dance, and art. These holidays offer a chance to experience the culture and traditions of Zurich.
Zurich also celebrates several secular holidays, including Swiss National Day, Labor Day, and the Zurich Festival. These holidays are usually observed with parades, fireworks, cultural events, and traditional foods.
List of holidays in Zurich
ZüriCarneval • Feb 24 – Feb 26, 2023
Muttertag (Mother’s Day) • May 14, 2023
Vatertag • Jun 4, 2023
Züri Fäscht • Jul 7-9, 2023
Street Parade • Aug 12, 2023
How public holidays work in Zurich
Public holidays in Zurich work similarly to other regions in Switzerland. The country recognises a total of 26 national and regional public holidays, with some of them being unique to the Zurich canton.
On public holidays, most shops, restaurants, and public institutions, including banks and post offices, are closed. However, there are some exceptions, such as grocery stores, which may have limited hours. Public transport operates on a reduced schedule, and it's essential to check the timetable beforehand.
Employers are required by law to provide their employees with a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation each year, but employers are not required to provide additional time off for public holidays. However, many employers do offer paid time off for public holidays as a benefit to their employees.