Banntag (Community Border Inspection Day)

On Ascension Day (this year, May 26) or another day in May, if you hear gun shots throughout the day in your community, chances are they are celebrating their “Banntag”—that originally served to ensure that the borders of the community were still intact and that no border markers had been moved by neighboring communities to “steal” some of the land. To this end, the men from the community, armed with their guns, would walk around the perimeter of the community to check on all of the border markers.

Today the Banntag in many villages has become a social event for the whole community, with citizens walking along sections of the borders in different groups and then meeting again for a picnic accompanied by music, a speech of the community’s mayor, and some updates on important events in the community. Some communities, however, still celebrate a more traditional version of the Banntag, where only men may participate, typically wearing a hat decorated with some flowers or small twigs, and they still may carry some old guns that will be fired occasionally. In Liestal, the Banntag is even an official holiday!

So if you live in Baselland, don’t be worried if you hear shooting on this day, there is no act of aggression involved!