Epiphany in Germany
Epiphany (Epiphanie, Epiphanias, Erscheinung des Herrn) is annually celebrated in Germany on January 6 to mark the Magi's (or three wise men's) visit to baby Jesus. It is also the end of the Christmas season. The German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt celebrate it as a public holiday.
What Do People Do?
Some people in Germany attend a special church service on Epiphany. If the church has had a crib display during the Christmas period, the figures representing the Magi are placed in the crib on January 6. People with a crib scene at home do the same. Children learn about the story of the three wise men and may act out the whole Christmas story. Homes and stables in rural areas are cleansed by burning frankincense and allowing the smoke to spread through the rooms.
People in some areas gather on Epiphany Eve (January 5) to drink to the health and luck of family and friends in the coming year. Special beer known as bockbier is brewed for this purpose. This type of beer has a stronger taste and a higher percentage of alcohol than other beers.
Groups of children go from house to house dressed as the three wise men between December 27 and January 6. They knock on the door of each house and sing hymns about the Jesus' birth and the Magi's visit. If the door is opened, they ask for money for a specific charity.
Epiphany is a public holiday in the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt. In these states, post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. However, stores in some tourist areas may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open.
Public transport services may run as usual, a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or wants to travel. In the rest of Germany, January 6 is not a public holiday.
Epiphany is a holiday to celebrate the visit of the Magi (three kings or wise men) to Jesus. According to Christian belief, the Magi followed a bright star shining in the sky to Bethlehem and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In the Christian traditions of western Europe, Epiphany generally marks the end of the 12-day Christmas period that started on December 25. Christians observe this holiday worldwide.
About Epiphany in other countriesRead more about Epiphany.
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Wed||Jan 6||2010||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Thu||Jan 6||2011||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Fri||Jan 6||2012||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Sun||Jan 6||2013||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Mon||Jan 6||2014||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Tue||Jan 6||2015||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Wed||Jan 6||2016||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Fri||Jan 6||2017||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Sat||Jan 6||2018||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Sun||Jan 6||2019||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
|Mon||Jan 6||2020||Epiphany||Common Local holidays||BW, BY, ST|
Quick FactsEpiphany celebrates the Magi's (or three wise men's) visit to Jesus shortly after he was born, according to the Christian Bible. It is an annual public holiday in three German states on January 6.
Epiphany 2016Wednesday, January 6, 2016 (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt)
Epiphany 2017Friday, January 6, 2017 (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt)
Name in other languages
|Heilige Drei Könige||German|
|Trettende dag jul||Norwegian|
Other holidays in January 2017 in Germany
- New Year's Day – Sunday, January 1, 2017
- Franco-German Day – Sunday, January 22, 2017
- Remembrance Day for the Victims of National Socialism – Friday, January 27, 2017
- European Privacy Day – Saturday, January 28, 2017