Berchtold's Day (Berchtoldstag) Date in the current year: January 2, 2016

Berchtold's Day (Berchtoldstag) Berchtold's Day (Berchtoldstag) is an Alemannic holiday celebrated in some parts of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Alsace. It is celebrated on January 2 and is considered a public holiday in 14 of 26 cantons of Switzerland.

The origin of the holiday's name is somewhat uncertain. Most likely, this day is devoted to Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen. According to the legend, in 1191 he founded the city of Bern and named it after a bear, which was the first animal he met on the hunt and killed. Since this trip is believed to have taken place in January, Berchtoldstag is celebrated on January 2.

However, there are some other theories concerning the name of this holiday. It is associated with Berchtold of Engelberg (a Swiss German Benedictine monk), with the verb “berchten” which means “to walk aroung, asking for food”, with Berchta (a Germanic pagan goddess) etc.

Berchtold's Day is mainly celebrated in the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland, such as Bern, Zürich, Zug and some others, where it has the status of a public holiday and a non-working day. It is celebrated with mask parades, holiday meals at pubs, folk dancing and singing.

Nuts are associated with Berchtoldstag, they are used for games and eaten in a “nut feast”.

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Public Holidays, Folk Festivals


Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Berchtold's Day, Berchtoldstag, public holidays, folk holidays, Swiss holidays