Zurich: Fireworks Banned for National Day?

Posted on August 1, 2006


national day.jpg 

by julie galante 

For the second time this year, Zurichers are biting their nails wondering whether a holiday celebration will be able to go on as planned. The first time was back in April, when the Böögg’s disappearance threatened to bring Sechseläuten to its knees.

This time around it’s not quite as exciting as a political kidnapping, but the situation sounds dire nonetheless. Due to the insufferable heat wave we’ve been having, the Canton of Zurich is dangerously dry. So dry, in fact, that locals may have to go without fireworks for Swiss National Day on August 1st.

Now I haven’t been here long enough to observe a Swiss National Day yet, but from what I can gather, it is not entirely unlike the 4th of July in the US. The stores are filling up with cheesy Swiss-flag-themed decorations such as banners and crepe-paper lanterns. And judging from the attention this potential ban is receiving, fireworks play an integral part in the day’s celebrations as well.

Apparently, it’s legal for private citizens to set off fireworks only on this day. Some stores are offering to give consumers refunds on fireworks through August 2nd should the ban go into effect. Meanwhile, authorities are plotting a potential ‘make-up day’ when fireworks would be allowed, since this is a preferable scenario to one in which everyone in Zurich stores piles of fireworks in their hot, dry storages spaces for an entire year.

Sounds like we will know whether the ban will be placed by Friday. I for one would hate to miss out on a full-blown Swiss National Day celebration (especially since we decided to actually stay in the country to see it), although it could be interesting to see how the Swiss deal with this wrench in their holiday. Will they realize the day’s deeper meaning, form a circle, and start singing a song in gibberish like the Whos in The Grinch who Stole Christmas? Now that would be worth seeing.

Photo credit: Siehbur