Two girls holding paper lanterns at dusk when celebrating the national holiday on 1 August.

Celebrating without fireworks

When the sky is full of hisses, bangs and sparkles, you know that the 1 August celebrations are in full swing. But Swiss National Day can still be joyful even without bangers and rockets.

Marcel Zulauf, Ringier Brand Studio

It just wouldn’t be the same without cervelat sausage. This boiled sausage made from pork, beef, bacon and pork rind is a Swiss tradition – around 160 million slices are eaten every year. Cervelat (also cervelas, servelat or zervelat) was first mentioned in connection with the Swiss National Day in 1891. However, the recipe appeared as early as 1749 in the Bernerisches Kochbüchlein (The Little Book of Bernese Cooking). Here’s a range of delicious 1 August recipes to satisfy all appetites – both with and without cervelat. The people of Basel call cervelat chlöpfer and people from eastern Switzerland often call it stumpen.

A cervelat sausage on a charcoal barbecue grill.

Cervelat’s sustainability credentials

Contrary to the belief that the name cervelat is derived from the Latin word cerebellum (brain), there is no reference to brain as an ingredient in any recipe. Made from pork, beef, bacon and pork rind, cervelat ticked the “nose-to-tail box” long before this term became trendy. Nose-to-tail refers to the use of as many parts of an animal as possible in cooking. Cervelat’s carbon footprint is 2 out of 5 stars. You can use M-Check to quickly view the environmental impact of Migros’ own brand products. You can also switch to plant-based alternatives if you’re looking to eat more sustainably.

Celebrating with the environment in mind

If you’re keen to take an eco-friendly approach, thoughtful shopping and menu planning can help you host an environmentally conscious barbecue and reduce both rubbish and food waste. You can also build up the excitement surrounding the upcoming national holiday with homemade decorations. This is especially great fun for children. You can still light up the sky with solar lanterns, fairy lights and sparklers without fireworks.

A group of people celebrate the national holiday with sparklers.

The environmental impact of fireworks

1,514 tonnes of fireworks were set off in Switzerland in 2021. We love to see the sky light up and hear the fizz and pop of fireworks as we sing the Swiss national anthem, however, the effects are disastrous. In a report on the environmental impact of fireworks, the Swiss Office for the Environment (FOEN) concluded, “What pleases the eyes is not so good for the respiratory tract.”

Adults and children enjoying a shower of sparks from a fountain firework.

Harmful residues after the sparkles have gone

The pyrotechnic charges in fireworks may produce showers of sparks, bright colours and crackling sound effects but they also contain heavy metals. The Federal Office for the Environment has calculated that around 300 tonnes of particulates are produced from detonated fireworks. This falls to earth as precipitation and pollutes the soil and water courses. In addition, several tonnes of waste comprising wood, cardboard, plastic and clay from rockets, Roman candles, bangers, etc. fall to the ground. According to a report by the Swiss TV channel SRF, fireworks emit over 70 tonnes of CO₂ into the atmosphere.

Migros forgoes the sale of fireworks

Migros cooperatives can decide independently whether they wish to sell fireworks or not, however, in principle they are no longer on sale out of respect for the environment. This is also because customers have voiced their concerns as the noise can be extremely disturbing for domestic animals and wildlife, and increasingly for people too. An increase in firework bans due to drought conditions has also resulted in uncertainty among suppliers and consumers.

Fireworks on a store shelf. Fireworks are no longer sold in many Migros branches.

Opposition to fireworks grows

It is not only Migros customers who oppose the excessive noise produced by fireworks. Since last year, signatures have been collected in support of the popular initiative “In favour of restricting fireworks”. The aim of the initiative is to ban the detonation of loud fireworks and to restrict fireworks to major supra-regional events. The petition is backed by several organisations, including Swiss Animal Protection.