Public holidays in Germany are not celebrated uniformly throughout the Federal Republic. Some states may have more holidays than the rest of the states and so forth. The city of Berlin celebrates about nine holidays in a year while Bavaria has up to 14 holidays. Gesetzliche Feiertage is the German word for their public holiday. During national holidays, businesses and most organizations are usually closed but hospitals and police stations remain open during these days. Unlike other countries which often moved the holiday to a working day (Monday or Friday) if it falls on the weekend, Germans do not follow such practice. Holidays in Germany are scheduled or calendared which is then released to the public and serves as guide for schools, businesses, bank holidays and for people to get the day off from work.
The calendar of national holidays list New Year’s day (January 1), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, German Unity Day and St. Sylvester’s Day as public holidays in the entire 16 states of Germany. Grand parades, extravagant balls and other festive celebrations mark the festivity of the Carnival which is celebrated a week prior to the Catholic Lent. A women’s carnival, which is listed on the first day of the 5-day Carnival holiday, is also celebrated in some parts of Western Germany. This tradition had come about due to the protest of women against their husbands who were said to celebrate the carnival often without them and spending the women’s earnings from washing clothes. Today, this celebration is known in the whole Europe, for its casual merry-making and often peculiar events.Known as Karwoche or silent week, Good Friday and Holy Saturday was declared by law as silence holidays. Holy Thursday on the other hand is dubbed as Green Thursday, emanating from the belief of offering green branches to repenting people after they have finished their reparation. Exaltation services and family get together are scheduled on Easter Sunday and Monday respectively. Labor Day on the other hand is celebrated through participation in raising of pole banners and parades. Various other religious holidays of the protestant and Catholics are commemorated in some states of Germany throughout the year, such as the Ascension, All Saints ‘ Day, Ascension and Pentecost day. One public holiday celebrated by some other states which was based on a semi-legend and mythical story is the Walpurgis Night every 30th of April.
It is great to visit Germany during the Christmas season, since it is during this time that two of the most festive holidays are celebrated in the entire nation. Christmas Eve on December 25 and Saint Sylvester’s Eve on December 31 were declared public holidays. Other public holidays in Germany which are celebrated by some states are listed in the Calendar published in national circulated papers and online, which can be accessed by anyone for reference and guidance.
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