Jeune Genevois

Jeûne Genevois is a recognized local holiday in Geneva, Switzerland, observed on the Thursday following the first Sunday of September. This holiday has religious origins and has been celebrated as a holy day by Christians since the 16th century. It is a day for fasting and also a day when prune tarts are traditionally prepared. It is related to the Federal Diet, which declared a federal fast for all cantons on a Sunday in September, but Geneva chose to observe the day on a Thursday instead.

The History of Jeûne Genevois

Fasting days have been a tradition in Switzerland since the 15th century, but the fast that led to this holiday first occurred in October 1567. This was when there was a Geneva-wide fast to show support for the Protestants who were being persecuted in Lyon, France. Many people consider this to be the first Jeûne Genevois ever observed. In 1869, the Federal Fast caused this holiday to no longer be an official holiday, but it was still observed by many citizens in the canton. It would eventually be reinstated as a holiday in 1966.

Fun Facts About Geneva & Switzerland

When we researched this holiday, one thing was apparent: we just had to list some of the fun facts we’ve learned about Geneva for all of our readers. The following facts are sure to fascinate anyone who has an interest in Geneva.

  • Lac Léman (also known as Lake Geneva) is the largest alpine lake in Europe.
  • Lac Léman is approximately 580 square kilometers in size.
  • The most famous landmark in Geneva is the Jet d’Eau.
  • The Jet d’Eau is a fountain that jets 500 liters of water per second to a height of 140 meters.
  • The Red Cross was founded in Geneva in 1863.
  • The European Organization for Nuclear Research, located near Geneva, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
  • The average marriage age for Swiss men is 31.8 years old. For Swiss women, it’s 29.5 years old.
  • Switzerland has over 7,000 lakes.
  • Switzerland has half the gun-related crime rate of the United States.
  • Switzerland has the highest proportion of international citizens. Approximately 1 in 4 people in Switzerland are from another country.
  • Switzerland has one of the highest quality of life indexes in the world.
  • Switzerland is also one of the most expensive places in the world to live.
  • Four national languages are spoken in Switzerland: French, German, Italian, and Romansh.
  • Only about 15% of the Swiss Alps are located in Switzerland.
  • There are 208 mountains in Switzerland.
  • The Swiss military keeps fully functional and stocked artillery bunkers disguised as cottage homes in the middle of populated villages for use as fallout shelters.
  • Annually, the country produces 180,000 tons of chocolate.

Observing Jeûne Genevois

Although the religious fasting of this holiday is not widely observed, people still enjoy making and eating prune tarts on this day. It is also a day when most shops and businesses will close. On this day, some people also attend special church services.

Where is it celebrated?
Switzerland (Common local holidays) - Geneva
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 5 Thursday
Next year (2025)
September 11 Thursday
Last year (2023)
September 7 Thursday