The 15 August is National Day in Liechtenstein. It has been celebrated since 1940 and is closely connected to the birthday of Prince Franz-Josef II on 16 August. Every year the Principality's citizens and their guests look forward to the spectacular firework display that closes the National Day festivities.
On 15 August Vaduz plays host to a huge celebration attended by thousands of Liechtenstein citizens and guests from many countries. The National Day begins with the State Act held on the lawn in front of Vaduz Castle, including speeches by the Prince and the president of the parliament. The people are then invited to a reception with drinks in the gardens of the castle. National Day is the only day of the year when the gardens are open to the general public. The Princely Family is also present at this reception and enjoys chatting with those present.
In the afternoon there is a large fair in the centre of Vaduz that continues until the early hours of the morning. The festivities come to a close in the evening with a large firework display above Vaduz Castle that is famous throughout the region and draws many guests to Vaduz.
There were two main reasons for establishing the National Day on 15 August. The first reason was that it was already a bank holiday (Feast of the Assumption). The second reason was that the Reigning Prince at the time, Prince Franz Josef II, celebrated his birthday on 16 August. Therefore, it was decided to celebrate the National Day on 15 August as a combination of the Feast of the Assumption and the Reigning Prince's birthday. Following the death of Prince Franz Josef II in 1989, National Day continued to be celebrated on 15 August. It was established as the official national day by a law passed in 1990.
Over the course of the years there have been different variations of the official celebration held on National Day. Since 1990 the State Act has taken place on the lawn in front of Vaduz Castle, the location where in 1939 the people paid homage to Prince Franz Josef II under the threat of National Socialism. It was here that Prince Hans-Adam II also received an homage from the people in 1990.