Which Swiss cantons have a public holiday on May 1st?

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Which Swiss cantons have a public holiday on May 1st?
People in Switzerland might use May 1st to explore or attend a demo if they have the day off. Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash

International Workers' Day is celebrated on May 1st. Here's where it's a public holiday in Switzerland and how it is marked.


May Day, which falls on a Monday this year, is marked across the world. 

In many places the day, which is also known as International Workers' Day or Labour Day (Tag der Arbeit, Fête du travail and Festa del lavoro in German, French and Italian), is a public holiday.

In Switzerland, however, it's worth keeping in mind that there are differences depending on where you live. 

People in the following cantons normally have the full day off on May 1st: Zurich, Basel–Stadt, Basel–Land, Jura, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Ticino.

In Aargau and Solothurn, people are usually given a half day off (from 12noon).

In some cantons, such as Freiburg and St. Gallen, a half day is usually given to cantonal workers. 

Employees in other cantons do not get a public holiday on May 1st, unless their boss gives workers the time off. 

How is May 1st marked in Switzerland?

Events such as demonstrations, festivals and public speeches are planned at around 50 locations across Switzerland on May 1st so keep an eye on what's going on locally in your area. 

The biggest demonstration takes place in Zurich, Switzerland's largest city.

The Zurich May Day Committee focuses on equality, and this year's motto is "Jin Jiyan Azadî" - Woman, Life, Freedom - a popular Kurdish freedom fighters' slogan. The committee is expressing solidarity with women in Iran and showing an international perspective on the feminist movement. The keynote speaker is Iranian activist Niloofar Rasooli.


The gathering for the May Day march will take place at Helvetiaplatz from 10 am. The demo under the motto "Women's work is worth more" is organised by the Trade Union Federation of the Canton of Zurich with the support of the May 1st Committee.

Otherwise, people in Switzerland who have May 1st as a holiday tend to use it to explore or rest. This year people can enjoy a long weekend since it falls on a Monday. 

In Bern where May 1st is not a public holiday, trade unions are planning a march under the slogan "More pay. More pension. Equality. Now!"

There is a call to assemble in Kramgasse from 4pm, and the procession will end at Bundesplatz, where various speeches are planned at 5 pm.


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