Sunday, August 7, 2022

Festivals & Holidays in Germany

EuropeGermanyFestivals & Holidays in Germany

Read next

Public holidays in Germany

According to the law, “Sundays and public holidays remain protected as days of rest from work and of spiritual upliftment” (Art. 139 WRV, part of the Basic Law via Art. 140 GG). Thus, all Sundays are holidays in a sense – but they are not generally understood under the term “holiday” (except usually Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday).

Public holidays, with the exception of Sundays (which must exist under constitutional law), can be established by law either by the Federation or by the Länder for their respective areas of jurisdiction. Under federal law, only the Day of German Unity is currently a public holiday (Unity Treaty, Article 2(2)); the others, including those celebrated nationwide, are public holidays under the law of the Länder.

Silent days”

A few days are designated as “silent days” by provincial legislation, which regularly means that public dancing, music in hostels (if live or not much quieter than usual), etc. are prohibited.

Some holidays are quiet days:

  • Good Friday,
  • Day of Prayer and Repentance (if it is a public holiday and in some other states)
  • All Saints’ Day (where it is a public holiday)

a de facto holiday (not established by law, as it is always a Sunday, but with officially organised celebrations) is a day of rest:

  • Memorial Day (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time),

Another Sunday is a quiet day:

  • Totensonntag (the German Protestant equivalent of All Souls’ Day), the last Sunday of the church year,

and some days can be quiet days without being holidays:

  • Christmas Eve (starts in the afternoon, in some states)
  • Ash Wednesday (in Bavaria)
  • Maundy Thursday (in some states; in others from the evening)
  • Holy Saturday (in some states)
  • The Day of Souls (in Lower Saxony and Saarland).

In a few cases – apart from All Saints’ Day, which, however, has long been associated with commemoration of the dead in the popular understanding – the status of silent days is also given to festivals with a joyful character: In Hesse, the highest Christian festivals are Half Days of Silence (until 12 noon) and in Rhineland-Palatinate, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day are Two-Thirds Days of Silence (until 4 pm). For more details, see the German article on the ban on dancing.

Flag Days

A third category, which in a sense can be called “holidays”, are “flagging days”. Only the highest institutions and the military use the national flags every day, so the guidelines for displaying the flags mark the days in question as special.

Flagging is regulated by the federal decree on

  • Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January at half-mast)
  • Labour Day
  • Europe Day (9 May)
  • Constitution Day (23 May)
  • Remembrance of 17 June. Titled “German Unity Day”, this day used to be a public holiday until unity was actually formed.
  • World Refugee Day
  • Remembrance of 20 July
  • German Unity Day
  • Remembrance Day (at half-mast)
  • Election day (Bundestag, European Parliament)

and by ordinances of the Länder on other days, such as the days of the election of the Länder parliaments, the days of the Länder constitution, the anniversary of the election of the Federal President (in Berlin), etc.

In times of national mourning, flags are often hoisted ad hoc to half-mast.

Unofficial holidays

Rosenmontag or Faschingsdienstag is a de facto public holiday in some cities in western and southern Catholic Germany that have a strong carnival tradition.

Moreover, Christmas Eve becomes a kind of half-holiday: from the afternoon onwards, it is practically considered a public holiday, and while shops are still open in the morning, working in businesses (apart from those that also work on public holidays) becomes increasingly unusual; schools are closed anyway.

Holiday customs

Ascension Day and Corpus Christi are always on Thursday. If you only take one day off, staff can have a four-day weekend.

The Day of the Magi, better known as Epiphany, is 6 January, the day after the 12 days of Christmas. In some parts of Germany it has its own local customs.

How To Travel To Germany

By plane Major airports and airlines The main airports are Frankfurt (IATA: FRA), Munich (IATA: MUC) and Düsseldorf (IATA: DUS). Berlin-Tegel (IATA: TXL), Cologne (IATA: CGN), Hamburg (IATA: HAM) and Stuttgart (IATA: STR) also have numerous international flights. Frankfurt is the main German hub (and also one of the main European...

How To Travel Around Germany

German transport works with German efficiency, and it's a breeze to get around the country - although you have to pay a high price for top speed (especially if you don't buy your tickets in advance). By far the most popular options are car hire or train travel. If...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Germany

Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement. There are normally no border controls between the countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most countries of the European Union and a few other countries.Before boarding an international flight or ship, there is usually an identity check. Sometimes...

Destinations in Germany

Regions in Germany Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states (called Bundesländer). Three of these federal states are actually city states: Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. The federal states can be roughly grouped by geographical areas as shown below, although other groupings exist. For a long time, the division...

Weather & Climate in Germany

The majority of Germany is characterised by a moderate seasonal climate that is dominated by humid western winds. The country lies between the oceanic western European climate and the continental eastern European climate. The climate is tempered by the North Atlantic Drift, the northern extension of the Gulf Stream....

Accommodation & Hotels in Germany

Germany offers almost all types of accommodation, including hotels, guesthouses, youth hostels and camping. You can also consider staying with members of a hospitality exchange network. German mattresses tend to be firmer than American and Japanese mattresses. Bedding is usually simple: one sheet to cover the mattress, one duvet per...

Things To See in Germany

Cultural and historical attractions When one thinks of Germany, beer, lederhosen and alpine hats quickly come to mind, but these stereotypes mainly refer to Bavarian culture and do not represent Germany as a whole. Germany is a large and diverse country, with 16 culturally unique states that have only formed...

Things To Do in Germany

Germany offers a great variety of cultural and sporting activities. Many Germans are members of a sports club. Sport Germany is passionate about football and the GermanFootball Association (DFB) is the largest football association in the world with 6.35 million members (8% of the German population) in more than 25,000 clubs....

Money & Shopping in Germany

Currency in Germany Germany uses the euro. It is one of the many European countries that use this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in all countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol of the euro is € and its ISO code is EUR....

Food & Drinks in Germany

Food in Germany How to get a service In more expensive restaurants, it is more likely that a waiter will accompany you to the entrance and show you to a table. If you get a table, it's yours until you leave. There is no need to rush. Even in country restaurants and...

Traditions & Customs in Germany

Culture Germans have a reputation for being rigid and strict with the rules, but also for being hard working and efficient. If you are caught breaking the rules, someone will easily point it out to you. The main exception in Germany seems to be the speed limits. More importantly, the German...

Internet & Communications in Germany

Phone The international dialling code for Germany is 49, the dialling code for international calls is 00, the dialling code for local calls is 0. Some number blocks are reserved for a special purpose: Numbers beginning with 010xx allow you to dial another phone provider (see below), 0800 and 00800...

Language & Phrasebook in Germany

The official language in Germany is German (Deutsch). The standard form of German is called "Hochdeutsch". It is understood by everyone and spoken by almost all Germans. However, each region has its own dialects, which can be a problem even for those who speak German well, even for native...

Culture Of Germany

The culture of the German states was shaped by the great intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. Historically, Germany has been called "The Land of Poets and Thinkers" because its writers and philosophers played an important role in the development of Western thought. Germany is known...

History Of Germany

The discovery of the lower jaw of Wall 1 shows that prehistoric man was already present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons in the world were found in a coal mine in Schöningen, where three 380,000-year-old wooden spears were unearthed. The very first...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Germany

Stay safe in Germany Germany is a very safe country. The crime rate is low and the rule of law is strictly enforced. Violent crimes (murder, robbery, rape, assault) are very rare compared to most countries. For example, the murder rate in 2010 was 0.86 cases per 100,000 population, much lower...

Asia

Africa

South America

Europe

North America

Most Popular