Reformationstag – The 500th Anniversary

On 31st October, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses criticising aspects of the Catholic Church to the church door in Wittenberg, in what is now Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt).
In doing so, he started the Reformation in Germany, something still very visible today with churches for Catholic and Protestant (evanglisch) congregations, and even separate Religious Educations lessons in school for children depending on which religion they belong to.
It is a public holiday in the Eastern part of Germany, in some other areas school either close completely or allow their pupils time off to go to church.
This year is different.  For the 500th anniversary, the day has been made a national public holiday, although technically what has happened is that each of the areas, where it is not normally a holiday, as passed a by-law to make it such just for this year.  Schools and shops will be closed for the day, with some parts of Germany enjoying a double holiday with All Saints Day being a regional holiday as well.
10 Years ago I recorded a podcast about the Reformationstag in German.  Click here to listen to it.

 

Fronleichnam

Fronleichnam is the name given to Corpus Christi – a date in the Catholic Church calendar that is celebrated 60 days after Easter.

It is only a public holiday in some parts of Germany.

The day generally starts with a Church service – often held in the open air. This is then followed by a procession through the town, often stopping at decorated altars en route.

Often the parish will hold their annual fête after the procession, giving an opportunity for families to spend the afternoon together and hopefully enjoy the fine weather.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download a transcript

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast

Maifeiertag

Maifeiertag is the name given to the first (1st) day of May, known in English as May Day. It is also known in Germany as the Tag der Arbeit.

It is a public holiday, but unlike in some other countries it always falls on the 1st and is not moved to accommodate weekends.

The day was first celebrated in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic in 1919, but it was not until 1933 that the bank holiday status was confirmed as being an annual event.

Traditionally Maibäume as erected for this day. Some of these are highly decorated, others resemble maypoles with coloured ribbons.

In the cities, however, the day is more political with demonstrations for workers’ rights.

Most people spend the day with their families.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download a transcript

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast

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