November 1st is All Saints’ Day. It is a public holiday in five German states.
All Saints’ Day in Germany
All Saints’ Day is a Christian holiday during which we remember our loved ones who have died. The reason for the holiday is very pragmatic: the Catholic Church at one point had too many saints. It was no longer possible for each of them to patronize a holiday.
Why is All Saints Day a holiday?
Originally, All Saints’ Day was celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. This changed only in the ninth century. Why is it on November 1st? Pope Gregory IV postponed the feast until November 1st because after the harvest and grape harvest, there was simply more food to celebrate. However, the Orthodox churches continued to celebrate the holiday on the original date.
In which states is All Saints’ Day a public holiday?
In Germany, All Saints’ Day is a public holiday only in the Catholic states. These are:
- North Rhine-Westphalia
What is allowed on this day and what is not?
All Saints’ Day is a so-called quiet holiday. This means that no dancing parties, for example, are allowed on this day. Also, certain films that go against the nature of the holiday may not be shown. A well-known example is the ban on the screening of the movie: “The Life of Brian”.
The ban, however, does not apply only to clubs, which, depending on the state, must follow specific opening hours. Closed must be on this day:
– Folk festivals
Exceptions are, as every Sunday, bakeries and florists. These may be open for 5 hours.
What are All Souls’ Days?
All Souls’ Day is celebrated on November 2nd to commemorate the dead. Odilon of Cluny introduced this day in 998 in all his monasteries. This is the origin of All Souls’ Day. According to the Catholic conception, all the dead who do not go immediately to heaven are sent to purgatory. In order to relieve their hellish torment, one must pray for them.
Unlike All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day is only a church holiday, not a national holiday. Mexico celebrates a festival of the dead called “Día de los muertos”, which is a combination of pagan traditions and the Christian All Souls’ Day.
What customs are associated with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?
On the morning of November 1st masses are held in Germany to honor all Christian saints and martyrs. At the moment, however, everyone focuses more on their loved ones who have died. In some towns, graves are blessed in the afternoon. This is also when candles are lit on the graves, as lights of the soul.
On All Souls’ Day, people also visit the graves of their loved ones. Depending on the region, different types of baked goods are popular on these two feast days – for example, in southern Germany the “Allerheiligenstriezel”.
Can you take advantage of All Saints’ Day and have a long weekend?
All Saints’ Day is often also an opportunity to have a longer vacation without using up too many vacation days. This is especially true in Germany, where the holiday is also October 31 (if it does not fall on a weekend) – this is Reformation Day. Other federal states are less fortunate, such as Berlin. Holidays in Germany are unfairly distributed. You can find all public holidays in Germany here: Holidays in Germany.