Gesetzliche Feiertage in Deutschland – Religious holidays in Germany

Posted on 03. Nov, 2011 by in Holidays

I have recognized that some of you wondered whether October 31 and/or November 1 are gesetzliche Feiertage (official holidays) in Germany or not. Well, both is right and wrong at the same time. Thus, it seems that Germany is still not completely (re-)united!?

Although church and state are separated in Germany and Religionsfreiheit (freedom of religion) is granted, the official religion of the state is Christianity. Therefore, for example, die Auferstehung von Jesus (the resurrection of Jesus), which is Ostern (Easter) and die Geburt Jesus (the birth of Jesus), which is Weihnachten (Christmas), are official holidays throughout Germany. But other Christian holidays, e.g. Reformationstag (Reformation Day) and Allerheiligen (All Saints’ Day) are respectively only celebrated in some parts of Germany. That is, some Bundesländer (federal states) are katholisch (Catholic) and others are evangelisch (Protestant). Thus, Reformation Day is a holiday in all Protestant states and All Saints’ Day is a holiday in all Catholic states. In order to make clear what official and public holidays we have in Germany and which states celebrate which of these holidays you can find an overview below.

 

Official holidays in Germany:

 

New Year’s Day (Jan 1): Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower-Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

 

Epiphany (Jan 6): Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt

 

Good Friday: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Easter Monday: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

May Day: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Ascension Day: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Whit Monday: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Corpus Christi: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hessen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, and only in some Catholic administrative districts in Saxony and Thuringia

 

Assumption of Mary (Aug 8): Saarland and in some Catholic administrative districts in Bavaria

 

German Unification Day (Oct 3): Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

 

Reformation Day (Oct 31): Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia

 

All Saints’ Day (Nov 1): Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland

 

Day of Prayer and Repentance: Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Christmas Day (Dec 25): Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

Day after Christmas (Dec 26): Is a holiday in all sixteen Bundesländer.

 

 

 

Vocabulary:

der gesetzliche Feiertag – official holiday

die Religionsfreiheit – freedom of religion

die Auferstehung Jesus – the resurrection of Jesus

die Geburt Jesus – the birth of Jesus

das Weihnachten – Christmas (is generally used without the article)

der Reformationstag – Reformation

das Allerheiligen – All Saints’ Day (is generally used without the article)

das Bundesland – federal state

katholisch – Catholic

evangelisch – Protestant

der Neujahrstag – New Year’s Day

die Heiligen Drei Könige – Epiphany (lit. The Three Holy Kings)

der Karfreitag – Good Friday

der Ostermontag – Easter Monday

der erste Mai (1.Mai) – May Day

die Christi Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day (is generally used without the article)

der Pfingstmontag – Whit Monday

der Fronleichnam – Corpus Christi

die Mariä Himmelfahrt – Assumption of Mary (although Mariä is spelled with an ä you pronounce it ‘Maria’)

der Tag der Deutschen Einheit – German Unification Day

der Reformationstag – Reformation Day

das Allerheiligen – All Saints’ Day

der Buß- und Bettag – Day of Prayer and Repentance

der erste Weihnachtsfeiertag – Christmas Day

der zweite Weihnachtsfeiertag – day after Christmas

 

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About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

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