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Holidays in Germany

German Unity Day is the only official German national holiday. All other holidays are decided by the 16 federal States, so some areas of Germany have public holidays unique to the area. The Augsburg Peace Festival, for example, is celebrated only in Bavaria on August 8th. Most public holidays though are commonly observed throughout the country.

With the exception of German Unity Day, most German holidays are common to other European countries and many relate to the (historical) Christian background of the German people (Easter Monday, Ascension Day and of course Christmas Day). May Day is a common secular holiday throughout the world and also in Germany. These are days which will be familiar to most Western travellers so shouldn’t cause too many shocks or disruptions to travel.

What closes and what opens can be a bit spotty. Most shops will shut on public holidays, although many tourist shops may stay open. Most cafes and restaurants open, though some have reduced hours.

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Public Holidays in Germany

  • January: New Year's Day (1st) — the opening day of the Gregorian calendar and celebrated worldwide. Epiphany (6th) — a public holiday only in 3 German States, including Bavaria.
  • April: Easter Monday — Christian holiday celebrated in March or April each year.
  • May: May Day (1st) — a worldwide commemoration of the achievements of the labour movement. Ascension Day — a holiday in several European Countries, including Germany. It always falls on a Thursday. Whit Monday — National European holiday observed 10 days after Ascension Day.Corpus Christi — (May or June) only celebrated in 6 of the German states, including Bavaria.
  • August: Assumption Day (15th) — only in Saarland, Augsburg and Munich.
  • October: German Unity Day (3rd) German holiday which celebrates reunification when the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
  • November: All Saints' Day (1st) — only in 5 states, including Bavaria
  • December: Christmas Day (25th), St Stephen's Day (26th) — both international holidays.

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