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Archive for the 'Bank Holidays' Category

Fronleichnam

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

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:

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Pfingsten

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Pfingsten is the weekend known in English as Whitsun or Pentecost. The Sunday and Monday are bank holidays in the whole of Germany. It falls 50 days after Easter.

Pfingsten celebrates the moment when the Holy Ghost descended to Jesus’ disciples, allowing them to be understood by everyone that they talked to. To the listeners they appeared to be speaking in their native language.

The weekend is often used by families to have a longer weekend away. Some parts of Germany have school holidays that start on this weekend.

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

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Christi Himmelfahrt

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Christi Himmelfahrt is known in English as Ascension Day. It is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter Monday.

The name comes from the New Testament, where it is described how Jesus ascended to heaven having shown himself to his aspostles 40 days after the resurrection.

The day is a bank holiday in all of Germany as has been since 1936, although it was not celebrated in the GDR between 1967 and 1989.

The day is also known as Vatertag – Father’s Day and many clubs and organisations hold their annual parties, open days or outings on this day.

In 2008 Christi Himmelfahrt fell on the same day as Maifeiertag!

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

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Maifeiertag

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

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:

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Heilige Drei Könige

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Heilige Drei Könige is celebrated on 6th January. In some areas of Germany it is a public holiday.

The day celebrates the arrive of the three wise men from the east in Bethlehem. In the Evangelical Church it is known as Epihanias – similar to the English name of the day in some countries “Epiphany”.

On this day, groups of children known as Sternsinger go from door to door and sing a song or recite a poem or prayer. They then write in chalk above the door C+B+M and the number of the year with three crosses, eg. 20*C+M+B+08. These letters stand for the latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “God protect this house”.

The Sternsinger also collect donations for childrens’ charities.

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

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