German Holidays 2021
What do people celebrate in Germany?
As a predominantly Christian country, most celebrations and German national holidays are religious festivities. However, Germany also celebrates a number of non-religious events.
What holidays do German people celebrate?
Essential list of German holidays and upcoming holidays:
- New Year’s Day (Neujahr): January, 1, 2021 (Friday)
- Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige): January, 6, 2021 (Wednesday)
- Carnival (Karneval): February, 16, 2021 (Tuesday)
- Good Friday (Karfreitag): April, 2, 2021 (Friday)
- Easter Monday (Ostermontag): April, 5, 2021 (Monday)
- Labour Day (Tag der Arbeit): May, 01, 2021 (Saturday)
- Mother’s Day (Muttertag): May, 9, 2021 (Sunday)
- Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt): May, 13, 2021 (Thursday)
- Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag): May, 24, 2021 (Monday)
- Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam): June, 3, 2021 (Thursday)
- Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt): August, 15, 2021 (Sunday)
- Oktoberfest: from September, 18, 2021 (Saturday) to October, 3, 2021 (Sunday)
- German Unity Day (Tag der deutschen Einheit): October, 03, 2021 (Sunday)
- Day of Reformation (Reformationstag): October, 31, 2021 (Sunday)
- All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen): November, 01, 2021 (Monday)
- Christmas Eve (Weihnachten): December, 24, 2021 (Friday)
- Christmas Day (Weihnachtstag): December, 25, 2021 (Saturday)
- Boxing Day (Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag): December, 26, 2021 (Sunday)
- New Year’s Eve (Silvester): December, 31, 2021 (Friday)
New Year's Day | January, 1
New Year's Day (Neujahr) is a National Holiday and a chance to rest after the festivities of the night before. Bleigießen, a type of fortune-telling, is popular on this day (and on New Year's Eve).
Three Kings Day | January, 6
Also known as the Epiphany, Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige) is the day the German Christmas tree is taken down and child carol singers dressed as kings collect money for charity. It is a public holiday in not all but a few states; namely, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Sachsen.
Carnival | February, 16
Fasching or Karneval in Germany is a period of Carnival celebrations that go on until Ash Wednesday. Notable Carnival parades in Germany take place in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Aachen.
Good Friday | April, 2
Like much of the Christian world, Good Friday (Karfreitag) is a national holiday. Christians attend church, whilst others enjoy the day off.
Easter Monday | April, 5
Easter Monday (Ostermontag) is also a national holiday. Monday is about spending quality time with family.
When is Easter this year?
Easter takes place in Germany from Friday, April the 2nd, to Monday, the 5th, in 2021.
Labor Day | May 1st
Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit) on May the 1st is a national holiday in Germany.
How is May Day celebrated in Germany?
May Day, May 1st, in Germany is marked with a blend of pagan rituals and also the celebrations of worker's rights. There are lots of celebrations and parties on the night of the 30th April into the 1st of May; the motto for this night is Tanz in den Mai or “Dance into May”.
Mother's Day | May, 9
Mother's Day (Muttertag) falls on the second Sunday in May. Mother's Day is marked by the giving of flowers and cards to one's mother.
Ascension Day | May, 13
Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt), 40 days after Easter, is another National Holiday in Germany. On Ascension Day Christians, most notably Catholics, attend a church service and spend time with family. It's also Father's Day in which groups of male relatives enjoy activities together.
Whit Monday | May, 24
Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag), sometimes referred to as Pentecost Sunday, falls on the 7th Monday after Easter and it means a day off work for German employees. For Catholics, it's a Holy Day of Observance, so in the south and west of the country, many people go to church.
Corpus Christi | June, 3
Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) is another movable feast, which takes place 60 days after Easter. It is not a national holiday but is a regional public holiday in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. In these parts, you may see Catholics head to the streets for a procession after Mass.
Assumption Day | August, 15
Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt) is another Christian festival that is mostly observed by Catholics and is, therefore, most visible in the regions to the south and west. In Bavaria and Saarland, in fact, it is a public holiday. The Feast of the Assumption of Mary marks Mary's ascension to heaven. Catholics attend a special Mass service with the giving of Mary's Nuts (walnuts and hazelnuts) to children.
Oktoberfest | September, 18
For many moving to Germany, the idea of the Oktoberfest holiday appeals more than the many religious festivities. With plenty of beer, fairground rides and traditional music, most Oktoberfest events start in late September and run until around October 3rd.
Is Oktoberfest a German holiday?
This month-long affair is not, sadly, a national holiday. However, many people book a day or a week off work to enjoy the festival.
What cities in Germany celebrate Oktoberfest?
Munich is the most famous, with six million visitors each year, but many towns and cities host their own including:
German Unity Day | October, 3
The German Unity Day (Tag der deutschen Einheit) is the most important non-religious holiday in Germany. It's a national holiday where Germans are granted the day off work on October 3rd. The holiday was founded in 1990 after the reunification of West and East Germany. Each year, a different city hosts the main ceremonial act, and festivities are enjoyed all over the country.
Day of Reformation | October, 31
The Day of Reformation (Reformationstag) commemorates the day that Martin Luther pinned his thesis to the door of a church in Wittenberg in 1517.
It is recognized by Protestants (especially Lutherans) and is a public holiday in nine of Germany's federal states including Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, and Bremen. The day is marked by a special church service or simply by spending time with family and friends.
All Saints' Day | November, 1
All Saints Day (Allerheiligen) on the 1st November is a public holiday in five regions: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland. It's an important Catholic festival where churchgoers remember the dead.