Swiss traditions For Members

Where in Switzerland is November 1st a public holiday?

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Where in Switzerland is November 1st a public holiday?
All Saints' Day is a public holiday in some Swiss regions. Photo by Robert Stokoe via Pexels.

All Saints’ Day, celebrated on November 1st, is one of those public holidays which is celebrated in some Swiss cantons (and municipalities) but not in others.


What’s the history behind All Saints’ Day?

Over the first few centuries, as the number of saints grew across the Christian world, the country struggled to honour each Christian martyr – known and unknown - with their very own holiday.

From the fourth century onwards, many Christians instead began to celebrate the inclusive All Saints’ Day which was then held on the first Sunday after Pentecost each year.

This date changed in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel to all Christian saints and Rome decided to mark All Saints’ Day on November 1st. This move was followed by Gregory IV a few decades later, in 835, who declared the Western Church should mark the occasion on the exact same day going forward.

What is celebrated on All Saints’ Day?

All Saints’ Day is, as the name suggests, a day to meant to commemorate all Christian saints and martyrs.

While All Saints’ Day is traditionally celebrated with solemn services in honour of the saints, the following day is dedicated to devotion and to the memory of the deceased (All Souls’ Day).

Though the two holidays are held on separate days, some people prefer to mark them both on the same day mostly for convenience reasons. This means that many relatives visit and decorate the graves of loved ones on the first of November, which is a public holiday in some Swiss regions.

Where is November 1st a public holiday in Switzerland?

Most Swiss cantons where Catholicism makes up the largest religious group will let you hit the snooze button on November 1st.

Those who work in the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Lucerne, Obwalden, Nidwalden, St. Gallen, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais, and Zug will get to enjoy an entire day off work.

Unfortunately those working in Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-City, Bern, Geneva, Graubünden, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, Vaud, and Zurich will be expected to put in a full day’s work as normal.


Things may look a bit brighter in the cantons of Aargau, Basel-Country, and Solothurn, though this will depend on where you live.

While the majority of towns and municipalities within those three cantons will not give you a whole day off work, in Aargau, the towns of Bremgarten, Zurzach, Laufenburg, Muri und Rheinfelden sure will.

Likewise, if you happen to work in Laufen or one of its municipalities (Gemeinden Laufen, Liesberg, Roggenburg und Röschenz), you will get to enjoy a day off.

Those employed in Dorneck, Gäu, Gösgen, Lebern, Olten, Solothurn, Thal, Thierstein, Wasseramt in the canton of Solothurn can also breathe a sigh of relief as All Saints’ Day is equivalent to a Sunday in all nine towns.

READ MORE: When are the Swiss public holidays in your canton in 2023?


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