Jeûne genevois Date in the current year: September 5, 2024

Jeûne genevois Jeûne genevois (Genevan fast or Genevan patriotic fast) is a public holiday in the Swiss canton of Geneva. It is celebrated every year on the Thursday following the first Sunday of September.

The European tradition of fasting as a way of remembering plagues, famines and wars dates back to the 15th century. In Switzerland, fast days of thanksgiving and penitence were regulated by the cantons. Jeûne genevois was created to commemorate the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, a wave of assassinations and violence directed against French Protestants.

Geneva was a cradle of the Reformation in Europe. In 1567, its residents observed a canton-wide fast as a sign of friendship with French Protestants who were persecuted in Lyon. This was most likely the first Genevan fast. Five years later, news of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre reached Geneva, and another fast was observed on September 3.

By 1640, Jeûne genevois had become an annual patriotic holiday. It was proclaimed a federal holiday in 1831, but that didn’t last. The holiday was declared no longer official in 1869. People continued to celebrate it unofficially until 1965, gradually forgetting about its religious significance.

On August 1, 1966 Jeûne genevois was declared a public holiday in the canton of Geneva. Most people don’t observe it as a religious fast anymore. One of the most beloved traditions is baking and eating plum pie (tarte aux pruneaux).

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Jeûne genevois, Genevan fast, Genevan patriotic fast, holidays in Switzerland, holidays in Geneva