Jeûne Genevois is a common local holiday in Geneva, Switzerland, and is observed on the Thursday following the first Sunday of September. This holiday is religious in origin and has been celebrated as a holy day by Christians since the 16th century. It’s a day for fasting and also a day on which prune tarts are traditionally prepared. It’s related to the Federal Diet which declared a federal fast for all cantons on a Sunday in September, but Geneva decided 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 created this holiday first occurred in October of 1567. This is when there was a Geneva-wide fast to show support to the Protestants who were being prosecuted in Lyon, France. Many people consider this to be the first Jeûne Genevois ever observed. In 1869, the Federal Fast caused this holiday to be no longer an official holiday, but it was still observed by many citizens in the Canton. It would eventually be reinstated as a holiday in 1966, however.
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 Leman (also known as Lake Geneva) is the largest alpine lake in Europe.
- Lac Leman is approximate 580 square kilometers in size.
- The most famous landmark in Geneva is Jet d’Eau.
- 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 research facility.
- 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 different 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 entire world.
- Switzerland is also one of the most expensive places in the world to live in.
- Four national languages are spoken in Switzerland. These are French, German, Italian, and Romansh
- Only about 15% of the Swiss Alps are 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.
- In the country, 180,000 tons of chocolate are made annually.
Observing Jeûne Genevois
Although the religious fasting of this holiday isn’t widely observed, people still enjoy making and enjoying prune tarts on this day. It’s also a day on which most shops and businesses will close. On this day, some people also attend special church services.