Germany: Remarkable celebrations and festivities to add to your list
If you are considering moving to Germany, it is important to become acquainted with the country’s culture and holidays to help you assimilate into the ways of the lovely people of Germany. Here are a few recurring annual celebrations that will be worthwhile to attend while you are in Germany.
With a population of over 80 million people, this country hosts a diverse range of religions, cultures, cuisines, customs, and traditions and celebrations. Before we get into the list of amazing, let us first learn about the history of celebrations in Germany. Because Germany is primarily a Christian country, most of the celebrations are based on that. Despite this, other religions coexist peacefully in Germany, and their celebrations contribute to making German celebrations as wonderful as they are. Let’s dive into German celebrations and traditions according to the order in which they are celebrated.
New Year’s Day) | January, 1
Germany, lavishly celebrates the New Year just like every other country. It is the time to reminisce with old friends and family while having a good time. On this day, the locals also partake in Bleigießen, a sort of fortune-telling. The parties last only a few hours in the evenings; the night before is the celebration night. Mostly people prefer to relax and chill with their families on New Year’s Day.
Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige)| January, 6
In some of the regions in Germany, this is a public holiday. The Three Kings Day, also known as the epiphany, is the day when the Christmas Tree is taken down. Did you know the Christmas tree (Tannenbaum) tradition came from Germany? Often various donations are made on this day, as children dressed as royals sing carols and collect money for charity.
Carnival (Fasching or Karneval) | February, 16
Karneval is the German version of carnivals as we know them. Karneval is a two-week-long costume/dress-up party in Germany. Participants toss sweets, flowers, and plush toys to the crowd, that is dressed in most entertaining costumes. Political satire abounds in the parade, with many floats depicting caricatures of European politicians. In Germany, notable Carnival parades take place in Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Aachen.
Good Friday (Karfreitag) | April, 2
Another Christian celebration in Germany which is a public holiday. Christians attend churches and other religious meetings while others enjoy the day off.
Easter Monday (Ostermontag) | April, 5
This is a national holiday in Germany. People normally spend the day off, relaxing or visiting other people.
Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit) | May 1st
Labor Day, which is observed annually on the first of May and is a national holiday. Germans value Labor Day because of their hardworking nature and contribution to the country’s rapid development rate. It is also a day to commemorate workers’ rights. From the evening of April 30th to the morning of May 1st parties take place in various places, also known as Tanz in den Mai, or “Dance into May.”
Mother’s Day (Muttertag) | May, 9
Mother’s Day is a special day to appreciate honor and celebrate motherhood and mothers in the family. It is usually celebrated by giving beautifully designed cards and flowers and sweet treats to mums.
Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt) | May, 13
Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt), which takes places 40 days after Easter, is another National Holiday in Germany. On Ascension Day Christians, most notably Catholics, attend a church service and spend time with family. It is also Father’s Day.
Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag) | May, 24
This day is also known as Pentecost. It is a holy day and observed by Catholics and other Christians.
Africa Festival | End of May
This is Germany’s largest celebration of African culture: dance, music, and parades. As we mentioned earlier, Germany is a melting pot of different races and cultures. In May, they normally hold the African festival. Festival promotes recognition and celebration of African cultures, their dance, cuisine, and music.
Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) | June, 3
The festival is celebrated 60 days after Easter, so the date may vary from year to year. It is not a national holiday and is more of an observation in a few regions across the country. Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland are some of which.
Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt) | August, 15
A Christian celebration but not a public holiday in all parts of the country. The Assumption of Mary marks Mary’s ascension to heaven. Catholics attend a special Mass service. As part of the traditions is giving walnuts and hazelnuts to children.
Oktoberfest | September, 18
Oktoberfest, the most widely celebrated and well-known celebration in Germany and probably in the world. Most Oktoberfest events begin in late September and last until the beginning of October, with plenty of beer, fairground rides, and traditional music.This beer-drinking holiday began in October 1810, when with Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in Bavaria. The royal couple broke the rules by inviting commoners to their wedding reception, which lasted for five days and comprised eating, drinking, and celebrating their special event. It has grown massively over the years and is now a 16-day festival held in Munich each year. With over 6 million visitors, Oktoberfest offers a wide variety of German beers and sausages. During the two weeks of Oktoberfest, the entire city and massive crowds join in the drinking, eating, and merriment on the Wies’n. Festival grounds are decorated and filled with rides, games, shops, and food stands. Although Oktoberfest is not a national holiday, people set aside a day to celebrate it.
German Unity Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit | October, 3
This is one of the most important non-religious holidays in Germany. October 3rd is a National Holiday. It was pronounced as a holiday in 1990 after the reunification of West and East Germany. Each year, a different city hosts the main ceremonial act, and festivities are enjoyed all over the country.
Day of Reformation (Reformationstag) | October, 31
This day is celebrated to commemorate the day Martin Luther pinned his thesis to the door of a church in Wittenberg in 1517. It is not a public holiday in all parts of the country.
All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen)| November, 1
This Christian festival where they celebrate the dead. They celebrate it in five regions of the country.
Christmas Eve (Weihnachten) | December, 24
The start of the Winter Holidays in Germany. Shops close around midday on Christmas Eve (Weihnachten) and many offices let workers leave early to go home and spend time with family and to enjoy a traditional meal of potato salad and sausages or raclette. Attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve to mark the end of advent (which starts on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day) is also popular.
Christmas Day (Weihnachtstag) | December, 25
This is the most widely observed festival by both religious and non-religious households not only in Germany but across the world. In Germany, it is celebrated with a lavish feast with extended family, which includes roast goose or duck. Families usually stay at home and play family games like “hide the pickle” and enjoy family time.
Boxing Day (Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag) | December, 26
Last but not least, of the recognized public holidays in Germany, is also known as the second day of Christmas day. Usually spent with friends and family enjoying another large feast, taking a walk, and attending a church service.
Germany has a list of celebrations and traditions that are wonderful and truly amazing. If you are moving to Germany, we are more than certain that you will enjoy their celebrations too!