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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

The First of August

1st August is an important day in the history of Switzerland and many celebrate it. It’s the Swiss National Day, chosen as the date on which Switzerland celebrates the anniversary of the first alliance between cantons in 1291. The modern result is that residents get a day off work and those who are inclined spend the day with family, barbecue, let off fireworks, go up a mountain, or generally feel a bit patriotic.

Patriotic Swiss on the 1st August 2013

Fireworks in Interlaken, 2006

An interesting fact for today is that the predecessor to the Swiss Psalm, which has been the official national anthem since 1981, was sung to the tune of “God Save The Queen”.

Swiss Psalm, translated into English

When the morning skies grow red
And o’er their radiance shed,
Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light.
When the Alps glow bright with splendour,
Pray, free Swiss, Pray,
For you feel and understand,
For you feel and understand,
That he dwelleth in this land.
That he dwelleth in this land.

In the sunset Thou art nigh
And beyond the starry sky,
Thou, O loving Father, ever near
When to Heaven we are departing,
Joy and bliss Thou’lt be imparting,
For we feel and understand
For we feel and understand
That Thou dwellest in this land.
That Thou dwellest in this land.

When dark clouds enshroud the hills
And gray mist the valley fills,
Yet Thou art not hidden from Thy sons.
Pierce the gloom in which we cower
With Thy sunshine’s cleansing power
Then we’ll feel and understand
Then we’ll feel and understand
That God dwelleth in this land.
That God dwelleth in this land.

Towards us in the wild storm coming,
You yourself give us resistance and stronghold,
You, almighty ruling, rescuing!
During horror and nights of thunderstorms
Let us childlike trust Him!
Yes, we feel and understand;
Yes, we feel and understand;
That God dwelleth in this land.
That God dwelleth in this land.