Berchtold Day

Berchtold Day is a holiday observed in some cantons of Switzerland on January 2nd each year. Also known as Bärzelitag or Berchtoldstag, this holiday is an occasion where people gather in restaurants or pubs, spending time with one another and exchanging New Year’s greetings and sometimes gifts.

Although the origin of this holiday isn’t really known to this day, some believe that it commemorates Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen, who founded the capital of Switzerland in the 12th century. It has been a holiday ever since.

The History of Berchtold Day

According to legend, Duke Berchtold V went on a hunt and vowed that he would name the fledgling capital city after the first animal he killed that day. He happened to kill a bear, so he named the city Bern, which is “bear” in German.

Observing Berchtold Day

A significant part of this celebration centers around nuts, so much so that it has been called the “nut feast.” People give them as gifts, children play games with them, and of course, nuts are used in cooking and eating. In fact, people begin hoarding nuts during the autumn months to have plenty for this celebration.

As mentioned earlier, people also spend the day socializing with friends and family members, sometimes at home and sometimes in restaurants or pubs. People also use the hashtag #BerchtoldDay on their social media accounts for the day.

Where is it celebrated?
Switzerland (Common local holidays)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 2 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
January 2 Thursday
Last year (2023)
January 2 Monday