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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
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
2021SunDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2022MonDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2023TueDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2024ThuDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD
2025FriDec 26St. Stephen's DayCommon local holidayAll except GE, JU, VD

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