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Holidays in autumn

Autumn Special Part 3

In autumn there are a lot of important holidays and commemoration days. These include the Day of German Unity, Halloween, Reformation Day, Martin's Day, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, Memorial Day, Sunday of the Dead and Day of Repentance and Prayer. We have put together for you the individual holidays and celebrations and shed some light on their meaning.

Day of German Unity (October 3)

On the 3rd day of the month of October On 1 October 1990 the five states of the GDR (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony), which had been reestablished in July and dissolved in 1952, joined the scope of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

One day later, the first constituent session of the all-German Bundestag took place in the Reichstag building in Berlin, which declared October 3 (instead of June 17) the Day of German Unity

Halloween (October 31). October)

The word "Halloween" probably comes from "All Hallows Eve", the eve of "All Hallows Day". In the course of time, the abbreviation Halloween emerged from this.

Probably Halloween is of Celtic origin (Samhain) and the Irish have created this festival.

More about Halloween you can find HERE in our special Halloween special


Reformation Day (31. October)

In memory of October 31, 1517, the day on which Martin Luther published his 95 theses against the abuse of indulgences and the alienation of faith by the Catholic Church, Protestants all over the world celebrate Reformation Day.

In folk custom, the thought of death and transience plays an important role at the celebrations and commemoration days taking place in autumn (see All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, Memorial Day and Death Sunday)

Allerheiligen (1. November)

Annual commemoration days for deceased - be they martyrs or saints - already existed in ancient Christianity.

The feast developed from the feast of the consecration of the Pantheon in Rome, which was celebrated in the Christian church as a feast in honour of Mary and all saints. Anno 835, Pope Gregory IV officially introduced this custom.

Allerseelen (November 2)

In the Roman Catholic Church, a memorial day of the dead. Its original purpose was to assist the souls in purgatory besides praying and giving alms.

998 then Odilo of Cluny put the All Souls Day celebration on Nov 2nd. The monks of Cluny spread the festival in the 11th century. It was not until 1311 that it was officially included in the Roman calendar.

To All Souls' Day the graves of the deceased are decorated and grave lights, the so-called "soul lights", are lit.

Volkstrauertag (Sunday before the Sunday of death)

The Volkstrauertag is a national day of remembrance in Germany. It has been commemorated since 1952 in November on the Sunday before Death Sunday, commemorating the war dead and victims of the tyranny of all nations

Death Sunday (last Sunday before the 1st World War). Advent)

The Sunday of the Dead was celebrated in Prussia in 1816 by King Friedrich Wilhelm III. Since the 19th century, the tradition of the Sunday of the Dead, which is celebrated on the last Sunday of the church year before the First World War, has developed in Germany. Advent the new church year begins.

On the Sunday of the dead it is usual to visit the cemeteries and decorate the graves.

Punishing and Betting Day (Wednesday before the Sunday of the Dead)

The history of this day goes back to the time of the Reformation, when the Protestant church orders ordered days of repentance and prayer, which were held at different times and often on current occasions.

On these days, the entire population was publicly called to repentance and prayer on the occasion of impending dangers (e.g. epidemics or the Thirty Years' War)

This tradition gave rise to regular days of repentance and prayer over time.

1853 and 1878 the Eisenach Conference of Protestant Church Leaders dealt with the introduction of a general Day of Repentance and Bed.

The date agreed was the Wednesday before the last Sunday after Trinity Day.

In 1995 the Day of Repentance and Prayer was abolished as a state church holiday in all federal states with the exception of Saxony despite considerable protest by the Protestant Church.

The employer's contribution to the long-term care insurance should be financed with the additional working day.

Since then, public attention to the Day of Prayer and Repentance has decreased considerably

Martin's Day (11th day of the month). November)

The Martin's Day was named after Saint Martin of Tours (* around 316/317; † 8.12.397). He was the third bishop of Tours and is one of the most famous saints of the Catholic Church.

Legend has it that Martin met a poor, undressed man, who had a terrible freeze, on an ice-cold day in winter at the city gate of Amiens. In a merciful act he shared his cloak with the sword and gave one half to the poor man.

Martin's Day is marked by numerous customs in Central Europe, including St. Martin's Meal, St. Martin's Parade, St. Martin's Singing, and St. Martin's Fire

St. Martin's procession

On St. Martin's Day, many places commemorate the evening in a service of the life of St. Martin and afterwards the children set off with the lanterns to the light procession.

Martin Singing

Following the Martinszug, Martinssingen is still practised in some places, where the children go from house to house with their lanterns and ask for sweets, pastries, fruit and other gifts with singing./p>


On Martin's Day, Martin's fires are lit in the evening. Fire is understood as a symbol - it brings light into the dark. In the Christian faith the light reminds of Jesus Christ.

The biggest Martinsfeuer of Frankfurt takes place on 11.11. in the Günthersburgpark in the Frankfurt district Nordend.

Martin goose

The Martin goose is also widespread today. The goose as a symbol for Saint Martin is a custom that refers to a legend.

Martin allegedly refused to become bishop and hid in a stable. But the cackling geese betrayed him, and he had to accept the episcopate.

Since then many geese have to pay for their "betrayal" with their lives every year ““.

Learn more about autumn at HERE

First customs get to know your HERE

You can read beautiful autumn poems HERE

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