Home   Calendar   Holidays   Switzerland   St. Stephen's Day
Flag for Switzerland

St. Stephen's Day in Switzerland

The Feast of Saint Stephen on December 26 is a public holiday in large parts of Switzerland. The observation is nowadays commonly considered the second and last day of Christmas. However, according to Christian liturgy it does not have anything to do with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ but is a religious holiday in its own right.

Is St. Stephen's Day a Public Holiday?

St. Stephen's Day is a public holiday in 23 cantons, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

The last Christmas sweets are eaten on St. Stephen's Day.

©iStockphoto.com/Adrian Assalve

What Do People Do?

Many people in Switzerland spend St. Stephen's Day with family and friends. Some may attend a church service, others use the last work-free day of the Christmas period to relax at home or go on long walks or skiing trips.

Public Life

St. Stephen's Day is a public holiday or “silent day” in the following cantons:

  • Appenzell Innerrhoden
  • Appenzell Ausserrhoden
  • Bern
  • Basel-Landschaft
  • Basel-Stadt
  • Glarus
  • Graubünden
  • Lucerne
  • St. Gallen
  • Schaffhausen
  • Schwyz
  • Thurgau
  • Ticino
  • Zurich

It is also a public holiday or “silent day” in some communes of the following cantons:

  • Aargau
  • Solothurn

In these areas, offices, banks, schools and most businesses are closed. This may also be the case in the rest of Switzerland. In most areas, public transport runs on a reduced schedule.

Background

According to the Bible, Saint Stephen was a contemporary of Jesus Christ. In Christianity, he is considered the arch martyr because he is said to be the first person executed on grounds of his Christian faith.

St. Stephen's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2011MonDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2012WedDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2013ThuDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2014FriDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2015SatDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2016MonDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2017TueDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2018WedDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2019ThuDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2020SatDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD

You might also like

Look Up for Shooting Stars!

Look Up for Shooting Stars!

The Leonid meteor shower is active now and peaks on Nov 17/18. Use our Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to see when and where to best see these shooting stars. more

Commuters and tourists in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom.

Daylight Saving Time (DST)

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward 1 hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight. more

Calendar with 12 months

12 Months of the Year

The 12 months of the year are linked to the Moon's orbit around Earth. Why are there 12 months? What do the month names mean? more