19. July 2021

To sing or not to sing – that’s the question

On August 1, Switzerland commemorates the Rütli oath of 1291. This is why August 1st is celebrated as a federal holiday and not as a national holiday. A national holiday should refer to the founding of the federal state and to the Federal Constitution of 12 September 1848. The SSCG organizes the Federal Holiday every year on the Rütli meadow at the Lake of Lucerne, which is administered by the SSCG. This year, the SSCG celebrates the 50th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Switzerland with over 500 women.

New anthem text based on the Constitution

At the same time, the SSCG supports the efforts for an annual commemoration of 1848. In this context, the SSCG encourages the dissemination of the proposed new text for the national anthem, which is based on the fundamental values of our society as formulated in the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1999. The proposed new text of the anthem is as follows:

 White cross on a shining red,
woven by a common thread:
freedom, independence, equality.
Open to the world in solidarity,
Swiss are one in peace and diversity.
Free are we who freely speak,
strong as we protect the weak.
White cross on a shining red,
sign of Switzerland, the path we tread.

The scores of the proposed new text for the anthem can be downloaded in French, Italian, Rumantsch grischun, German and English (nationalanthem.ch). The website also contains videos in which the new text of the anthem is sung in the four official languages.

Invitation to all communities

On August 1, municipalities and cities as well as Swiss associations around the world are invited to sing the new proposed text for the anthem, in addition to the traditional Swiss psalm. The singing of both texts will allow for an exchange on the meaning of national anthems and on the values that correspond to our society today and that should therefore be conveyed in the national anthem. As soon as the text of the proposed new anthem is sufficiently well known to the population, it will be submitted to Parliament and the electorate for official adoption.

The silence of Swiss footballers

At the European Football Championship in June, the Swiss national team players once again distinguished themselves by their silence and lip movement during the national anthem, and some journalists and letter writers reacted with their usual dose of indignation. The SSCG, which has studied a lot on the anthem phenomenon in recent years, has called for understanding with soccer players in letters to the editor.

There are several legitimate reasons for silence when the Swiss national anthem is played at a European soccer championship or a World Cup:

  • The Swiss national anthem, unlike other anthems, exists in four languages. If the player on the left or right sings the anthem in German or Italian, it is not possible to sing in German at the same time.
  • Some of the Swiss soccer players have dual nationality. If they identify themselves exclusively with one nation on the field, people from the other country feel snubbed.
  • It can be seen as an expression of respect that the footballers introspectively listen to the sounds of the anthem just before kick-off and concentrate on the game.
  • The singing of the national anthem is only mandatory for the armed forces and on diplomatic occasions abroad.
  • Even at federal celebrations on August 1, only one in ten people present can sing the first verse of the national anthem by heart.
  • People of no religious faith are concerned with the text of the prayer.

Info: www.nationalanthem.ch