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Reformation Day

Reformation Day 2017 and 2018

October 31 is the date of the annual Reformation Day holiday in Germany. Due to 2017 being the 500th anniversary of the reformation, Germany will have a one-off nationwide holiday on October 31, 2017. Usually, the holiday is recognised in only five German states.

YearDateDayHolidayStates
201731 OctTueReformation DayNational
201831 OctWedReformation DayBB, MV, SN, ST & TH

The religious holiday is called “Reformationstag” in the German tongue. Reformationstag translates to “day of reformation.” Reformationstag is a public holiday in the states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Brandenburg. For residents of these German states, shops, business, banks and post offices are closed on Reformation Day.

While many businesses and shops are indeed closed on Reformation Day, not all of them are. Stores by highways are often open, as are those at train stations or close to tourist attractions.

On October 31st in 1517, German theologian Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door. In doing this, he denounced the medieval ways of the church. His actions brought upon an international discourse that paved the way for the Protestant Reformation.

Many significant social and religious shifts followed Luther’s actions. The Reformation era started in 1517 and stopped around 1648. Because Luther publicly spoke against the church, the Pope excommunicated him. Luther responded to the excommunication by escaping to Thuringia’s Wartburg Castle. He posed as a monk there and focused on the challenge of making a German translation of the Bible. His goal was to give more people the opportunity to read it.

When Germans celebrate Reformation Day each year, they remember and acknowledge Europe’s religious reformation. Some Germans go to church services on Reformation Day. Some Germans take off from work to enjoy the company of friends and family members. Many Germans even use the holiday as a chance to go to attractions in nearby nations such as Switzerland, Poland and Austria.

Many Germans celebrate Halloween on October 31st each year, too. Halloween, however, is a much newer event for the European nation. Halloween became popular for Germans sometime during the 1990s.