German holidays

Eat, drink and celebrate like a German.

Being in a foreign country provides even more reasons to be excited about the holidays. For expats in Germany, a public holiday isn’t merely about getting the day off work and being able to snuggle up and catch up on all the television shows you may have missed. Instead, it’s a call for exploration and education. Yes, education. Learning how different holidays are celebrated in Germany and being a part of the festivities is a great way to discover how different or similar German holiday traditions are to your own.

Expand your palate during the holidays, try something new, something traditionally German. Soon enough, you’ll be cooking up German meals, all on your own, being able to manipulate the ingredient where ever you see fit. Your home will be the go to place for a decadent Christmas dinner.

German public holidays and how they are celebrated:

  • New Years: On Silvester (New Years Eve), families often host a special Raclette dinner filled with conversation and laughter where a bottle or two of  champagne always seems to make its way to the party.  And because New Years Eve wouldn’t be complete without a screening of ‘Dinner for One’, everyone huddles up on the couch in preparation for this 963 classic. At around midnight, the thunder starts. Every street and corner, city center and small town sends flashes of light in the air, one after the other, making the sky more picturesque than ever. For those living in Berlin, it’s worth joining in the hustle and bustle at the Brandesburger Tor to watch the extravagant firework displays. The New Years day itself is a whole lot calmer. There are no more fireworks allowed and families can sit home and recover from all the banging that occurred the previous night.
  • Christmas: On the 24th of December the Christmas tree is put up and presents are opened. The Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus) pays a visit during the early hours of the evening and drops off all the goodies for the children. Christmas dinner is usually comprised of goose, vegetables and potatoes.
  • Good Friday: This is usually a calm day in German households, where families enjoy a special dinner together.
  • Easter Monday: Moms and dads enjoy hiding Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies in the garden or around the house. The children then have fun testing their eyes, checking each and every crevice for their goodies. Lunch on Easter Monday usually consists of lamb, vegetables and potatoes.

The Easter fire is also very popular amongst Germans and something you won’t want to miss.

  • Labor Day: Labor Day is usually celebrated with a small family lunch, or when the weather permits, a picnic.
  • Ascension day: A special church service is held.
  • Whit Monday: Beware that your property is locked on this holiday as spirits (mischievous kids) are known to go around stealing and places tools in places they don’t belong.
  • Day of German Unity: In Berlin, concerts are held and speeches are given by German politicians. 

These are public holidays, which means all stores are close, so be sure to get your grocery shopping done before. 


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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