This is the list of bank holidays for 2016 in Germany and they are determined by the laws and government of each individual country.

The only exception to this law is that German Unity Day is always celebrated on October 3rd every year and this holiday was determined by a treaty by the federal government in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Aside from this day, all of the other holidays are determined by the rules of the individual countries. Also, the Constitution of the country says that all Sundays are holidays and to be used for resting and relaxing.

Here is a comprehensive list of all of the German holidays in 2016.

  • New Years Day or Neujahrstag – Germany celebrates New Year with a combination of modern chaos and traditional customs. Thousands of people head to theaters, restaurants, clubs, pubs, road and squares, tourists and locals alike. It is custom to enjoy a drink that is called Feuerzangenbowle and it is made of red wine, cinnamon, cloves, orange peels and rum. Also, on this day lead pouring is a common tradition and a small amount of the lead is melted in a teaspoon while held over a flame and then poured into a bowl or bucket that is full of water. The shape that is made by the lead is thought to predict the upcoming New Year. Other favorite activities on this day includes attending fireworks shows, pub hopping, clubbing and partying. Munich also plays host to some classical music concerts for the holiday.
  • Epiphany or Heilige Drei Könige – This holiday celebrates the day when the Magi or the Three Kings had taken their gifts to the Baby Jesus. It common for homes and churches to have a display with a crib and Baby Jesus and nearby the statues of the Three Kings. People sprinkle their homes with some holy water and the initials of the Three Kings, (Balthasar, Melchior and Caspar) are written over doorways with chalk. Children also dress up as the Three Kings with a huge start and visit various homes while they sing the Three Kings’ Song. They are then given sweets, chocolates and cookies and church singers do the same thing, but they collect donations that are put towards welfare purposes. This is also the day when all Christmas decorations are taken down and adults and children raid the tree for any treats, including chocolate and cookies that were hanging on the tree.
  • Good Friday or Karfreitag – This day is a quiet one as it is a day of mourning since the country remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. One of the most common traditions on this day is to have a fish dish during the meal.
  • Easter Monday or Ostermontag – This is one of the major holidays in the country since the people rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The preparations for this holiday start weeks in advance and the celebrations last for some days after as well. The Monday following Easter is a holiday in the country and they make sure to eat a huge meal, which is part of the festivity to mark the completion of the mourning period. There are Easter eggs, a large selection of confectioneries, Easter bunnies made of chocolate and the Easter Fountain or Well and the Easter Tree. The tree is a small tree that is living or even some cutouts from nearby pussy willows or other flowering plants that are decorated with various Easter eggs, wreaths, garlands and other decorations. Next to the tree an Easter Bunny is always placed and the Easter Well or Fountain is located in one major area of the town or city and it is decorated in an Easter theme. The water in the fountain or well is blessed on Easter as a mark of respects towards water, which helps to sustain life and Earth.
  • Labor Day or Tag der Arbeit – In Germany, Labor day is often spend simply relaxing with friends and family while enjoying the warmer weather. This is often the time when picnics are planned and plenty of time is spent outside. Also, in some areas in the country the Maypole is traditionally raised in one of the  major areas of the city or town. The Maypole is simply a long narrow tree or trunk that is decorated colorfully and then posted with a lot of pomp along with traditional dancing and music.
  • Mothers Day or der Tag der Mutter – Germany has been celebrating Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday of May since 1922 and the holiday was declared to be a public one in 1933. When this day is on the same day at Pentecost, then the holiday takes place on the 1st Sunday of the month. While under the reign of Hitler, there was a mother cult and mothers who had produced kids for the country had been given medals. However, these days the celebrations are  bit more intimate and people give gifts, flowers and cards to their mothers and spend quality time with them.
  • Father’s Day or Vatertag – In the ancient times this holiday had a much different connotation than it does today. However, these days it is more of a boys day out and people show their father respect and love. Often a group of boys will go out pub hopping together.
  • Ascension Day or Christi Himmelfahrt – Germany also celebrates the day that Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and they hold special prayer services in different churches. There are also processions that carry banners and torches in the open areas around the churches. Also, on this day the International Charlemagne Prize is traditionally presented on this day in Aachen to someone who had made significant contributions to humanitarian causes.
  • Whit Monday or Pfingstmontag – This day is also called Pentecost Monday since it is the Monday that comes after Pentecost and the Christians celebrate the fact that the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Apostles. Besides from the traditional Christian rituals another custom is where young men will plant a birch tree on the walls of the home of the young women they want to marry. Also, in order to remember the night of unrest, the night before many young people hang out on the property of other’s and might take away anything that isn’t stored.
  • Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam – This day upholds the Eucharist and in Germany there are regular church services. Also , there is blessed wafers and bread that are carried around the town in colorful parades or processions. Also, in 1435 Cologne had witnessed the Muelheimer Gottestracht on this same day, which was a procession of various ships along the banks of the Rhine river.
  • Assumption Day or Mariä Himmelfahrt – This is another Christian feast that upholds the beliefs that God had assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven and this is the day that she ascended. On this day the bells chime before the prayer services are started in the churches and one of the customs is to give the children ripe walnuts or hazelnuts. People will also go to collect various herbs that will be used for medicinal or cooking purposes, including clover, chamomile, thyme and much more. These are kept on alters or hung up in their homes.
  • German Unity Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit – This day celebrates the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany and it has since 1990. Various leaders and politicians speak on this day before the citizens in order to celebrate the occasion. There is a festive mood that is added to by the various fireworks shows and community meals and services are held on this day..
  • Day of Reformation or Reformationstag – On this day the country remembers the events back in 1517 that brought about a huge number of social and religious reforms across Europe. On this day Martin Luther, who was a German social reformer and theologian, had nailed a list of propositions on the door of the church. Also, the Reformist and Lutheran churches have special services that are held on this day.
  • All Saints Day or Allerheiligen – On this day the Christians hold and attend special services that are in honor of the Christian martyrs and saints, especially those ones that don’t have their own Special Feast that is dedicated to their name. Also, on this day the people in the country visit their ancestors graves to pay their respects.
  • Repentance Day or Buß- und Bettag – On this day the Protestant Christians observe it in a somber atmosphere and thoughts.
  • Christmas Day or Weihnachtstag – This holiday is celebrated with plenty of fun and feasting as the birthday of Jesus Christ is celebrated. Homes are given beautiful decorations, delicious meals are prepared, presents are exchanged and they attend special prayer services.
  • St Stephens Day or Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag – This is the feast that honors St. Stephen, who is thought to be the first ever Christian martyr. In Germany, this holiday is also called as the Second Christmas Day and people use this as an excuse to extend the festivities.

List of 2016 Bank Holidays in Germany

Day of the Week Date Holiday
Friday Jan-01 New Years Day
Wednesday Jan-06 Epiphany
Friday Mar-25 Good Friday
Monday Mar-28 Easter Monday
Sunday May-01 Labor Day
Thursday May-05 Father’s Day
Thursday May-05 Ascension Day
Sunday May-08 Mothers Day
Monday May-16 Whit Monday
Thursday May-26 Corpus Christi
Monday Aug-15 Assumption Day
Monday Oct-03 German Unity Day
Monday Oct-31 Day of Reformation
Tuesday Nov-01 All Saints Day
Wednesday Nov-16 Repentance Day
Sunday Dec-25 Christmas Day
Monday Dec-26 St Stephens Day