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Swiss mountains light up for national day

Reuters/Evolene, Switzerland

Saturday، 01 August 2020 11:45 PM

A section of the Alps turned amber on Friday night in a massive pyrotechnic display as Switzerland marked its national day with an event that is suited to the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing rules.
The mountain chains of Veisivi and Dent de Perroc, which tower nearly 4,000m (13,000 feet) in the southern canton of Wallis, saw more than 100kg (220lbs) of magnesium powder ignited in the event.
Although Swiss National Day is on August 1, many people celebrate the night before.
The date marks the foundation of Switzerland in 1291.
The show, which illuminated 12sq km (4.6sq miles) of the mountains, was visible from 20km (12 miles) away.
“It is like 100mn candles being lit on the mountains and gives them a lovely warm glow,” said organiser Jacques Morard, who runs Jimagine, an events company in Montreux.
“Many people around Switzerland normally have fireworks to celebrate our national day, but they weren’t able to this year because of distancing regulations.”
Gatherings of more than 1,000 people are currently banned to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Thousands of spectators gathered in the Evolene valley below to see the three-minute long display, at a safe distance from each other.
The show followed a similar display in 2015, when magnesium powder was used to turn mountains red for the anniversary of Wallis joining Switzerland, an event also organised by Morard.
Morard, 62, said that many events he was organising this year had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 respiratory disease, caused by the novel coronavirus. 
“As a Swiss person I am very proud to have an idea which works to mark our national day, and bring some joy even in this terrible situation,” he added.

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