Living abroad can be complicated. Shopping, traveling and working overseas can be vastly different from life in the United States. One way to simplify the transition is knowledge and understanding of local and national holidays in Germany. Many German holidays are based on religious or traditional beliefs. While some overlap with American holidays, others may be unfamiliar. Here is a list of upcoming 2017 German national and Rheinland-Pfalz-specific holidays.
January 1: New Year’s Day
While New Year’s Eve is observed as a silent day in Germany, New Year’s Day is the day that shoppers need to be aware of. It is a national holiday and many businesses around the country will be closed.
April 17: Easter Monday
As in America, Easter Sunday is celebrated as Easter day in Germany, but in the form of a silent day. Since many businesses around Germany are already closed on Sundays, the holiday is also celebrated nationally on the following Monday, when businesses will stay closed.
May 1: Labor Day
Labor Day is a celebration of the international labor movement and workers’ rights. It is a national holiday observed across all German states. Businesses will be closed on this day.
May 25: Ascension Day
On the national holiday of Ascension Day, Christians across Germany attend special church services to celebrate Jesus ascension into heaven after the crucifixion. Ascension Day is also known as Men’s Day or Father’s Day in certain areas of Germany. In these regions, groups of male friends or relatives spend the day together, usually participating in outdoor activities such as hikes or bike rides. Ascension Day is a national holiday across Germany, and all business will be closed.
June 5: Whit Day
Whit Monday, also known as Monday of the Holy Spirit, is the national holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost, which is a movable religious feast in the Christian calendar. The date changes each year because it is determined by Easter. Businesses will be closed on this day.
June 15: Corpus Christi Day
Corpus Christi Day is a regional religious German holiday that is celebrated in Rheinland-Pfalz. This holiday is celebrated with a special church service on Corpus Christi and the sacrament blessing. All businesses in the area will be closed.
October 3: German Unity Day
German Unity Day is the nation’s main holiday. Celebrated annually on Oct. 3, this holiday memorializes the anniversary of Germany’s national reunification in 1990. German unity was a goal of the nation initiated in the 1800s and recognized on this date over a century later. Businesses will be closed to observe the holiday.
October 31: 500 years Reformation Day
Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of a Roman Catholic Church on Oct. 31, 1517, highlighting the church’s practice of allowing pardons from sin to be bought. This sparked a larger public debate, resulting in many Christians breaking from the Roman Catholic Church. With 2017 being the 500-year anniversary of the start of this reformation, Oct. 31 will be observed as a national holiday across Germany. Businesses will be closed on this day.
November 1: All Saints Day
All Saints Day, also known as All Souls Day or All Hallows, is a Roman-Catholic holiday that commemorates those deemed by the Catholic Church to have attained full sainthood in Heaven. All Saints Day is a local silence day celebrated in Rheinland-Pfalz, with business closed in observance.
December 25 and 26: Christmas Day and Second Christmas Day
Just as in America, Germans celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec. 25. However, they extend this to a two-day celebration through Dec. 26. Businesses on the economy will be closed on both days.