Bavarian Holidays 2016/2017
January 01, 2016 NeuJahr - New Years Day; In the western world the 1st January has commonly been celebrated as the first day of the New Year since the Middle Ages. In 153 BC the Romans moved this celebration from 1st March to 1st January, the day on which the consul took office. The years were also named after the tenure of each consul.
January 06, 2016 Heilige Drei Koenige - Epiphany; The origins of this holiday go right back to the three kings who in the Christmas story as reported in the New Testament were known as the Three Wise Men of the East. At the time of Christ's birth the three wise men saw a bright star burning in the sky, the star we call the Christmas star, and followed it to the birthplace of the baby Jesus.
March 25, 2016 Karfreitag - Good Friday Easter; The most important festival in the Christian year, is considered a time to meditate on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The roots lie in the Jewish feast of Passah (Pessach). Easter Sunday falls on the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the start of Spring.
March 28, 2016 Ostersonntag & Ostermontag - Easter Sunday & Easter Monday; This most important of festivals known as the Holy Tridium (Tridium paschale) has developed through history since the 4th century. A second tridium compromising Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday was attached creating three work-free days.
May 1, 2016 Tage der Arbeit - May Day or Labour Day; At the inception conference of the Second International (International Workingmen's Association) in 1889 May 1st was instigated as "Labour Day" to enforce fair working conditions. The day was then declared a public holiday just for one year in 1919 by the Weimar National Assembly. The National Socialists introduced it as an annual public holiday in 1933, which hence forth was to be known as "National Labour Day". The day was however abused to disseminate propaganda, unions were broken up and their members persecuted. The first free May Day was celebrated in 1945 and has continued to be an annual public holiday to the present day.
May 5, 2016 Christi Himmelfahrt - Ascension Day (always falls on a Thursday); Acsension Day marks the day Christ ascended into heaven to take up his rightful place at the right hand of God. The festival that falls on the 40th day after Easter has been celebrated since 370 AD.
May 16, 2016 Pfingsten - Whit Monday (Greek: Pentecost = "the fiftieth day") is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Easter. Whitsun, which is also known as the "birthday of the church", is marked by the very special religious services and celebrations. It also denotes the end of the Easter period. At the Whitsun the church remembers the day when following Christ's ascension into heaven, the Holy Ghost descended to Christ's desciples. From this day forward the disciples began to teach about Jesus. In many towns and villages throughout Bavaria Whit Monday is a day marked by magnificent horse backed processions e.g. in Bad Koetzing, Sankt Englmar, Ochsenfurt and Erlangen.
May 26, 2016 Fronleichnam - Corpus Christi; Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic feast day to celebrate the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ, is held on the second Thursday after Whitsunday and noted by a procession in which a monstrance containing the Host is carried aloft through the streets with the congregation processing in its wake. One notable such festivity is the lake procession that takes place each year in Murnau am Staffelsee and which is the only one of its kind in Germany.
June 17, 2016 June 17th Former Tag der deutschen Einheit; Day of German Unity; it commemorated the 1953 uprising in East Berlin and other cities of East Germany that was quickly squashed when Soviet tanks moved in. In honor of the day, the Berlin street running westward from the Brandenburg Gate is named Strasse des 17. Juni. Following German reunification, Unity Day was changed to October 3.
August 15, 2016 Maria Himmelfahrt - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church feast day held on the 15th August and celbrated mainly in Catholic communities. The festival that celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven has been part of the religious calendar since the 6th century.
October 3, 2016 Tag der Deutschen Einheit - German Unity Day; German Unity Day that is celebrated on 3rd October every year was introduced as a national holiday in Germany in 1990. It marks the reunification of the two German states that was completed on this day. This holiday replaced a public holiday that as held on 17th June in the Federal Republic and the "Republic Day" in the GDR (German Demographic Republic) that was held on the 7th October.
November 1, 2016 Allerheiligen - All Saints Day; is a Roman Catholic festival and a day to pay tribute to the saints in the independent Evangelical Lutheran church. Pope Gregory IV instigated the 1st November as the day on which the entire western church is to commemorate the saints back in the 9th century.
November 9, 2016 9. November is the anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Because it happens to also be the date the infamous Kristallnacht night of terror against Jewish establishements during the Nazi period, the German parliament decided not to celebrate the date by making it an official holiday.
November 11, 2016 Karneval, Fasching - Carnival, Mardi Gras; Although not a legal holiday, this is the traditional beginning of the carnival season in Catholic regions. Cities like Cologne, Mainz and Munich in Germany, as well as Austria, and most of Switzerland practically shut down for the culmination of the Mardi Gras season on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) and the Tuesday before Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) when the festivities end for Lent. The 'foolishness' begins officially at 11 minutes past 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
December 24, 2016 Heiligabend - Christmas Eve; is the most important part of Christmas festivities in Germany, even though the legal holiday doesn't begin until the 25th. (However, stores and businesses close early on the 24th.) On this evening (as opposed to the American's tradition) presents are exchanged as the family gathers around the Christmas tree.
December 25, 2016 Weihnachtstag - Christmas Day; This is the day on which we celebrate Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ. Celebrations begin at sundown on Christmas Eve, on 24th December. 25th December that is a public holiday in many countries marks the beginning of the Christmas festivities. Christmas officially runs from Christmas Day until the Sunday after Epiphany, the feast that celebrates the revelation of God in human form.
December 26, 2016 Boxing Day as it is called in Britian, is also a public holiday that is known in the Roman Catholic and the old Catholic church as St. Stephen's Day.