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German Holidays – Part 2

In part 1 of this article I talked about the holidays in Germany which are celebrated in all states.

This second part will talk about the German holidays that only some states observe.

German holidays celebrated in some states

Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige) is on January 6th and commemorates the visit of the three Magi after the birth of Jesus. Throughout the day children, each dressed as one of the three Wise Men, will go from door to door and recite a particular song. They are called Sternsinger (star singers), because of the star the three Magi followed to find Baby Jesus. The children are generally given some candy and collect money for the less fortunate and in turn will leave a chalk mark on the door as token of good luck for the remaining year. Epiphany is a public holiday in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt.

These marks are left by the Sternsinger (star singers) around people's doors as a token of good luck

Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) is one of the Catholic German holidays. Unlike Epiphany, it is not related to Jesus’ life itself, but is simply a holy day to remember the miracle of the Body of Christ (Eucharist, Lord’s supper), a sacrament and rite observed in most Catholic masses. It is celebrated 60 days after Easter Sunday, so it usually occurs some day in June, in the following states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt) is another of the Catholic German holidays, commemorating the assumption of Mary into heaven after her death. It is celebrated on August 15th each year and a public holiday in Saarland and most of Bavaria.

Reformation Day (Reformationstag) is on October 31st each year, the same day Martin Luther in 1517 nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. In his theses he criticized many of the practices of the church, which eventually sparked the protestant reformation and lead to the separation of the church. It is one of the public German holidays in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) is the day to remember the various lesser and major saints of the Catholic church, their suffering and doings. All Saints’ Day falls on November 1st and is a public holiday in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Day of Repentance and Prayer (Buß- und Bettag) was one of the national German holidays until 1994, but then abolished to pay for the rising cost of the federal nursing care insurance. It was originally, as the name suggests, a day of major prayer and repentance. Now it is only a public holiday in Saxony, celebrated on  the Wednesday before November 23rd.

Last but not least and a curiosity among the German holidays is the Augsburg Peace Festival, celebrated on the 8th of August each year. It commemorates the signing of the Peace of Westphalia (also called the Treaty of Münster), which ended the Thirty Years’ war in 1648. What is curios is that it is allegedly the only state-protected holiday in the world which is at the same time restricted to only one city.



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  1. Holidays in Germany - full list of German public holidays | GermanGlobe linked to this post on August 25, 2011

    [...] holidays in Germany, celebrated nation-wide in all states. Part 2 will talk about the remaining German holidays, which some states celebrate and some [...]



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