Sunday 31 December 2017

Holidays and Festivals in Germany

Many holidays celebrated in the United States are observed in
Germany, too, including Christmas, Easter, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Groundhog Day, celebrated on February 2 in the U.S., has its roots in the German holiday Candlemas, reports , but a hedgehog that comes out of hibernation to predict the length of winter instead of a groundhog.


Germany is perhaps best known for the festival that starts in late September and continues into the first few days of October. The holiday that began as a 19th-century wedding celebration for the prince of Bavaria and his bride remains popular in Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria. The wedding occurred on October 17, 1810, but the anniversary soon turned into a joyous revelry, now called Oktoberfest -- not only an occasion for beer drinking, but also for carnival rides for participants of all ages.

May Day

In some parts of Germany, May 1 marks the arrival of spring. A "May Queen" is chosen and children dance around a maypole while holding individual ribbons attached to the pole. Music, dancing and courting is likewise associated with the holiday. A second type of celebration also occurs on the first of May, according to, but this May Day, also called Labor Day, is mostly limited to the working class and labor organizations and isn't as widely observed. Generally, it's a time for parades, rallies, speeches and on occasions, demonstrations.


Carnival in Germany is essentially the same pre-Lenten festival that occurs in Italy, Spain and Latin America. Officially, the party begins in November, but in reality, it doesn't get going until the last few weeks before Ash Wednesday, a Christian holiday and day of recovery for those who drank to excess during Carnival. In Germany, the event is for the most part limited to the southern and western portions of the country, reports, with the biggest parties in Bavaria and along the Rhine River west of Frankfurt.

St. Martin's Day

At no time during the year is the difference between Protestant and Catholic in Germany more noticeable than on Saint Martin's Day. Also known as Martinmas, the holiday occurs on November 11, reports Tracie Marquardt, BellaOnline German culture editor. For Catholics, the celebration revolves around the Feast of St. Martin, the 4th-century Bishop of Tours (France). At the same time, Protestants are celebrating the christening of Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran church who was born in 1483 and named after the French saint. November 11 at 11:11 a.m. also marks the beginning of Carnival, according to

By Henri Bauholz

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