August 1st is Switzerland's National Day. It is Switzerland's 4th of July. It is celebrated in much the same way as in America with flags, fireworks and cookouts. The whole country gets involved. Baker's make pastries with Swiss crosses on them. Shops sell souvenirs that represent Switzerland.
This year is Switzerland's 719 birthday. August 1st was chosen because in 1291 three men all from different cantons swore and oath of confederation. This have become known as the foundation of Switzerland. These men swore an oath of brotherhood and agreed to come together to defend their freedom from the invading barbarians of Austria. Before this day Switzerland was made up of tribes located through out the land. These tribes came together to fight for their freedom.
Bonfires were set out on mountain tops to keep watch for the invading Austrians. Bonfires for centuries had been lighted each summer on the mountain tops to celebrate this freedom.
In 1891 the Swiss government declared the day as Switzerland's national day but it wasn't until 1993 that the day became an official holiday.
Today the Swiss celebrate with parades, public speeches, and bonfires. There are cookout where sausages are roasted over the fire. Barbecue on farms and in gardens are set up and fireworks light up the night.