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Berchtold Day in Switzerland

Berchtold Day (Berchtoldstag or Bärzelitag) on January 2 is an Alemannic tradition that is celebrated in some areas of Switzerland. The holiday's name does not refer to a Saint (there is no St. Berchtold) but is derived from the verb berchten – meaning “to walk around, asking for food”.

What do people do?

Berchtold Day is a light-hearted, sociable event. People meet in pubs and restaurants to exchange good wishes for the new year. In some areas, old traditions that have elsewhere been discontinued due to the Protestant Reformation are still being kept alive. In Hallwil in the canton of Aargau one can still witness the Bärzeli, a parade of dressed up and masked figures symbolizing concepts like fertility, age, ugliness, wisdom, and vice.

Public life

Berchtold Day is a public holiday in the following cantons:

  • Bern
  • Thurgau
  • Vaud
  • Aargau (some communities)

In the canton of Jura, January 2 is a “silent day” (Ruhetag).
In the following cantons, offices, banks, schools and businesses may also be closed:

  • Fribourg
  • Glarus
  • Graubünden
  • Lucerne
  • Neuchâtel
  • Obwalden
  • Schaffhausen
  • Solothurn
  • Zug
  • Zurich


As the Berchtoldstag is an Alemannic tradition, it is usually only celebrated in areas that boast a predominanty Alemannic population. This includes the above-mentioned areas of Switzerland, as well as Liechtenstein and the Alsace region in France.

Berchtold Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SatJan 22010Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
SunJan 22011Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
MonJan 22012Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
WedJan 22013Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
ThuJan 22014Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
FriJan 22015Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
SatJan 22016Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
MonJan 22017Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
TueJan 22018Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
WedJan 22019Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons
ThuJan 22020Berchtold DayCommon Local holidays14 cantons

Quick Facts

Berchtold Day is a public holiday in a number of Switzerland's cantons.

Berchtold Day 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015 (14 cantons)

Berchtold Day 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016 (14 cantons)


Name in other languages

Le BerchtoldstagFrench
San BasilioItalian
firà da BumaunRomansh
Berchtold DayEnglish

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in January 2016 in Switzerland

Fun Holidays on January 2, 2016

Other Calendars

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