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Corpus Christi in Germany

Quick Facts

Corpus Christi celebrates the Eucharist and is public holiday in some parts of Germany.

Local names

NameLanguage
FronleichnamGerman
Corpus ChristiEnglish

Corpus Christi 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Corpus Christi 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015
List of dates for other years

Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) falls on a Thursday 60 days after Easter Sunday. The day honors the Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord's Supper), which is important in the Catholic church. Corpus Christi is a public holiday in some parts of Germany and is marked by parades for the blessed sacrament (in form of bread or wafers).

Corpus Christi celebrates the Eucharist, also known as the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.

©iStockphoto.com/mstroz

What do people do?

Many Catholics and some Protestants in Germany attend a church service on Corpus Christi. During the church service, special attention is paid to the sacrament's blessing. The sacrament consists of bread or wafers that are believed to be Jesus' body. In many places, the blessed sacrament is paraded outside during or after the service. This often results in a colorful celebration, especially in small villages.

A procession by ships is held on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne. This is known as the Muelheimer Gottestracht and has been held every year since 1435. It is possible for passengers to ride on some of the ships in the procession.

The custom's origins are uncertain. However it is thought that a thief wanted to cross the river by boat but an unseen force prevented the boat from crossing the water. This was seen as God finding a way to punish the thief for his sins.

Public life

Corpus Christi is a public holiday in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland and in some parts of Sachsen and Thuringia. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed in these areas. However, stores in some tourist areas may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open.

Public transport schedules may be normal, reduced or have no service depending on where one lives or wants to travel. Corpus Christi is not a public holiday in the rest of Germany.

Background

Corpus Christi became a Christian feast following the work of the nun known as Juliana of Liege, a city now in Belgium. She lived from 1193 until 1252 and repeatedly had visions of Jesus reminding her that there was no special feast day for the Blessed Sacrament. Many Christians celebrated the festival as far back as 1246.

Then, in 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered that the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament should be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Since Trinity Sunday is one week after Pentecost, Corpus Christi is 10 days after Pentecost and 60 days after Easter Sunday.

Symbols

The Eucharist is a celebration of the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples. Common symbols are the bread or wafers and the wine that are believed to be Jesus' body and blood, the plate that holds the bread and the chalice that holds the wine. Other symbols are processional banners and cloths to protect the blessed sacrament (bread or wafers) as it is paraded outdoors.

About Corpus Christi in other countries

Read more about Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
ThuJun 141990Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 301991Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 181992Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 101993Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 21994Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 151995Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 61996Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 291997Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 111998Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 31999Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 222000Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 142001Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 302002Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 192003Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 102004Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 262005Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 152006Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 72007Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 222008Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 112009Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 32010Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 232011Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 72012Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuMay 302013Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 192014Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuJun 42015Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH
ThuMay 262016Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH
ThuJun 152017Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH
ThuMay 312018Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH
ThuJun 202019Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH
ThuJun 112020Corpus ChristiCommon Local holidaysBW, BY, HE, NRW, RLP, SL, SN, TH

Other holidays in June 2014 in Germany

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