This is an overview of German national public holidays:
- New Year’s Day (1 January)
- Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
- Easter Monday
- 1 May (Labour Day)
- Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
- Whit Monday (51 days after Easter)
- The Day of German Unity (3 October)
- Christmas Eve (24 December)
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25/26 December)
On public holidays shops, offices, schools and universities are closed.
New Year’s Eve (Silvester)
The year ends with New Year’s Eve, which is not a public holiday in Germany, but New Year’s day is. It is usually celebrated with a great dinner with the family or friends. At midnight people go outside to fire some rockets or to just watch the colourful fireworks.
Carnival (Fasching or Fasnacht)
Carnival is celebrated in February or March and lasts only a few days. It is not celebrated across the whole country. The strongholds are in the Rhineland (Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn), in the Rhine-Main area (Wiesbaden) and the Black Forest. People dress up in costumes and party in the streets and pubs. Many towns organise great carnival parades.
Easter is a festival of Christian origin and therefore celebrated in Germany. It reminds of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the weeks before Easter you can buy chocolate bunnies and eggs in every shop. Traditionally, the eggs are hidden in the house or in the garden. Children get told that the Easter bunny has brought them and are supposed to find them at Easter.
Starting from the end of November many German towns build up Christmas markets. You can buy handicrafts and Christmas presents or just have a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine) or eat some Lebkuchen (gingerbread). This gets you in the right mood for the Christmas holidays.
In Germany Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December. The family gets together to decorate the Christmas tree in the morning and to have dinner in the evening. After that, the presents are exchanged and many families go to church to celebrate the birth of Christ. The 25th and the 26th of December are public holidays and are usually spent with family and friends.
Additionally, there are many regional festivals celebrated in Germany. For example, in wine regions people celebrate wine festivals, annual fairs are celebrated in nearly every town or beer festivals, such as Oktoberfest, the most famous one in Munich (Bavaria).