Restoration Day in Geneva Date in the current year: December 31, 2024

Restoration Day in Geneva Since Switzerland is a federal state, each of its cantons has its own official observances in addition to nationwide public holidays. For example, the canton of Geneva celebrates Restoration Day on December 31. It commemorates the restoration of the Republic of Geneva in 1813.

Geneva is a French-speaking canton located in western Switzerland and mostly surrounded by France. It is one of the four Swizz cantons that are referred to as republics within the Swiss Confederation (the other three are Ticino, Neuchâtel and Jura). But how exactly did Geneva become a republic and what does the restoration of the Republic of Geneva mean?

The first inhabitants of the territory of the present-day Geneva were the Allobroges. After that, the territory was by turns controlled by the Roman Empire, the Burgundians, the Kingdom of Burgundy, and the Holy Roman Empire. In 1416, the Duchy of Savoy attempted to annex Geneva. In 1526, the city allied itself with the Old Swiss Confederacy to get protection from the Duchy of Savoy.

Of all Swiss cities, Geneva had the closest ties with Bern and Fribourg. As both cities converted to Protestantism, Geneva followed suit. As a result, in 1535, the entire population of the city was excommunicated by the bishop of Geneva, and Catholic clergy left the city. Several months later, the troops of the Duchy of Savoy began the siege of Geneva, but the city fought back with the help of Bern and gained independence in 1536. At the end of the year, John Calvin arrived in Geneva to reorganize the church. Under Calvin, Geneva was proclaimed a republic in 1541.

The chain of evens that resulted in Geneva losing its status of a republic began with the French Revolution and subsequent counter-revolution that led to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. During the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798, the Geneva republic was annexed by France and became part of the department of Léman.

The French occupation of Geneva lasted for 15 years. In the fall of 1813, Napoleon began to suffer defeat after defeat. On December 30, 1813 the Napoleonic army left Geneva. On the next day, the Republic of Geneva was restored. Two years later, Geneva joined the Swiss Confederation, retaining its status of a republic.

The anniversary of the restoration of the republic (Restauration de la République) is an official holiday in the canton of Geneva. The celebration begins at 8 am on December 31 with a cannon salute. It is followed by an official governmental ceremony, a service in St. Pierre Cathedral, and a gala concert that also takes place in the cathedral.

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Restoration Day in Geneva, holidays in Switzerland, holidays in Geneva, regional observances