Germany, a country on the European continent, is a popular tourist destination. Its blend of history, culture, traditions, natural beauty, and great food attracts thousands of people to the country every year. If you plan a holiday in Germany, you need to do thorough research to find out the best places to see and things to do in the country. Apart from this, it is also important to know about the public holidays in Germany. This is because its major attractions might remain closed during these holidays. Moreover, most German holidays are attached to a culture, religion, or tradition, thus allowing you to learn more about the country.
Public Holidays in Germany 2023
Germans enjoy around 9-10 national holidays every year. Moreover, certain states will have additional public holidays, limited to a particular state or region. Here are the Germany public holidays in 2023.
New Year’s Day: January 01, 2023
The New Year celebrations, known as Silvester in Germany, begin on New Year’s Eve, i.e., on December 31. The Germans have some unique ways of welcoming the New Year! It ranges from relishing a midnight soup, and drinking Sekt (a German sparkling wine or champagne) to watching fireworks, bursting firecrackers, and enjoying scrumptious meals with family and friends. The New Year’s Eve parties continue till the wee hours of the morning. New Year’s Day, i.e., January 1, is a holiday for the entire country. Stores, banks, and post offices, among others, remain closed on this day. While some Germans love to spend the day quietly, others enjoy a communal lunch or dinner with family and friends.
Good Friday: April 07, 2023
All schools, other educational institutions, post offices, and banks remain closed on Good Friday. Most Germans spend this day attending special church services. Processions and plays on the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ are common in several areas of the country. Germans generally do not eat any meat on Good Friday. Instead, most people eat fish on this day, as it is considered the last day of the fast. On the other hand, many consider Good Friday as the first day of a long weekend, culminating on Easter Monday. Many go on a vacation to another city or country this weekend. It is an ideal time to enjoy skiing, sailing, and even watching high-profile car races.
Orthodox Easter: April 09, 2023
Easter in Germany begins with a church service for most Germans. After this, there is a community breakfast, lunch, or evening meal; they are complete with a lamb roast, lamb stew, cookies shaped in the form of eggs or lambs, different types of salads, sweet bread (decorated with candy eggs and frosting), scrambled or boiled eggs, and lamb-or-egg-shaped cakes. People also exchange Easter eggs and Easter hares on this day. Another Easter tradition of is lighting a bonfire by putting together branches and twigs. This enormous bonfire is lit on Saturday night and is extinguished only on Sunday.
Easter Monday: April 10, 2023
Easter Monday is also a national holiday in Germany, and most schools, offices, and businesses remain closed on this day. People in Southern Germany take part in candle-lit parades early in the morning that culminates with a church service. The walk is in remembrance of the walk of Jesus after the resurrection. Walks through winter crop fields are also held in some rural areas to mark the end of winter and the start of spring. Some villages also conduct egg races for both children and adults.
May Day: May 01, 2023
May 1st or May Day has two distinct meanings for Germans. Since ancient times, this day has celebrated the arrival of the spring season in the region, with the use of Maypoles, May trees, and bonfires. Most major cities in Germany host dancing events as a part of May Day celebrations. On the other hand, May Day is also considered Labor Day. On this day, you will find several events and parades supporting and campaigning for labor rights issues all over the country. With so many things going on all over Germany, May Day is a great time to enjoy the revelry and have a good time.
Ascension Day: May 18, 2023
Ascension Day is another religious festival in Germany. Celebrated by Catholics, it is observed on the 40th day after Easter Sunday and is believed to be the day when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven. It usually happens on a Thursday and includes a special church service followed by a procession where people carry religious banners. People who have made a valuable contribution towards humanity and world peace are awarded the International Charlemagne Prize on this day. Ascension Day is also celebrated as Men’s Day or Father’s Day, and hence you will find groups of men spending time together indulging in drinking and outdoor activities like riding a horse cart, walking in the country, etc.
Whit Monday: May 29, 2023
Whit Monday comes after Whit Sunday, also known as Pentecost Sunday. Whit Monday is celebrated 51 days after Easter with several local, regional customs and traditions. Most Germans visit the church for a special service on this day. In the past, it was believed that evil spirits were the most active during the night between Whit Sunday and Whit Monday. Today, several fun rituals are practiced based on this belief.
German Unity Day: October 3, 2023
Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org
Germany Unity Day marks the reunification of the country on October 3’ 1990, after the collapse of the Berlin War and years of the Cold War. German Unity Day, also known as German National Day, commemorates the occasion when the then -German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany. The major celebrations of this special day happen in and around Platz der Republik at the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, where you get to see some amazing fireworks. You also get to be part of festivals that include live bands, food and drink stalls, stand-up comedy, etc. On the other hand, many Germans enjoy low-key celebrations with family and friends. Germans love to watch German history documentaries and speeches by politicians on television on this day.
Christmas Day: December 25, 2023
Christmas is one of the most important festivals for Germans. Christmas Eve is celebrated by decorating the Christmas tree, sprucing up the homes, and cooking for the entire family. Gift exchanges also happens on Christmas Eve. The Christmas church service at midnight is something that most Germans attend. One of the most important Christmas rituals is enjoying a large meal complete with a variety of traditional dishes, including roast duck or goose stuffed with prunes, apples, onions, or chestnuts; dumplings; red cabbage with apple and onions; boiled potatoes; turkey; venison; beef; etc.
Boxing Day: December 26, 2023
The next day after Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Most Germans treat it as a recovery day after the celebrations of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, although some people start their day with a special church service. Most Germans spend time with their family and friends, enjoy time outdoors, watch television, play board games, and enjoy seasonal treats on this day. Communal meals are planned by most, while some enjoy the leftovers of Christmas. In short, Boxing Day is for resting and relaxing.
Apart from the days and dates mentioned above, certain regions of Germany enjoy extra public holidays. Participating in these Germany public holidays and festivals will help you understand the essence of the country.