Photo: Franca Pedrazzetti
Laetizia Schneider, nurse in a home for elderly people in Island, receives an apple tree from the President of the Swiss Confederation.

Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation, honoured on the Rütli meadow on 1 August, one woman and one man each from all 26 cantons and from the “Fifth Switzerland” (Swiss citizens living abroad) for their commitment during the Corona lockdown. On behalf of all those who were especially committed to other people and to society, the 54 people received a young apple tree as a gift.

During the lockdown, the 54 honoured persons worked in public transport, in supermarkets or pharmacies, in cantonal crisis teams, in intensive care units of hospitals, in centres for the elderly and day-care centres for children, in the police or fire brigade, in psychological counselling or IT support for home offices, developed digital apps, disposed of rubbish or cleaned offices, gave distance learning lessons, delivered tons of postal parcels or distributed food to people living in poverty. One person from each language region reported on their efforts: Rita Monotti, the head physician at the Carità Hospital in Locarno, Judith Schnider, branch manager in Laax, Grisons, Olivier Schaffter, who supplied the hospital staff with free food from the kitchen of his closed restaurant “La croix blanche” in Delémont, and from Ostermundigen in Bern, the teacher Christian Stähli, who spoke with his student Tara about the challenges of distance learning.

Because of the Covid distance rules, only 200 people were allowed to celebrate on the Rütli meadow this year, instead of 2000. And because many Swiss abroad had to renounce on a federal celebration this year, “Presence Switzerland” decided to stream the celebration live to the whole world:
The actual celebration begins exactly one hour after the start of the broadcast.

Maria Victoria Haas led the 90-minute ceremony in all four official Swiss languages. The Fribourg opera singer Marie-Claude Chappuis and the choir “Les voix de la Gruyère” performed well-known Swiss folk songs. Alphorn player Lisa Stoll and the Military brass ensemble “Rekrutenspiel 16-2/20” created a festive and dignified, yet cheerfully light atmosphere. And the President of the Swiss Confederation encouraged the guests on the Rütli and throughout the world to go on acting in solidarity.

This year’s federal celebration should have been organised by the Swiss Society for the Common Good (SSCG) in cooperation with the Swiss Wrestling Federation.

However, because of Corona, the wrestling will take place on August 1, 2022 for the first time in history on the Rütli meadow.

On August 1, 2021, the women’s associations and women’s clubs will celebrate on the Rütli the 50th anniversary of women’s voting rights in Switzerland.

Federal Feast of 1st August 2020 on the Rütli meadow