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Reformation Day in Germany

Quick Facts

Reformation Day in Germany is annually observed on October 31 to remember the Reformation, a time of big religious change between 1517 CE and 1648 CE.

Local names

NameLanguage
ReformationstagGerman
Reformation DayEnglish

Reformation Day 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Reformation Day 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015
List of dates for other years

Reformation Day is a public holiday in five states in Germany on October 31 each year to remember the religious Reformation in Europe. It commemorates when German monk and theologian Martin Luther’s proposals were nailed on the doors of a church in 1517. This event was the start of religious and social changes in Europe.

Reformation Day commemorates the efforts that theologian Martin Luther made towards religious and social changes.

©iStockphoto.com/Christina Hanck

What do people do?

Many members of the Lutheran and some Reformed Churches, attend special church services to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther's proclamation. Other people have a day off work to spend time with family or friends.

Many people use the day to shop or visit attractions in countries, such as Austria, Poland or Switzerland, as these countries are close to the German states. They also celebrate Reformation Day as a public holiday.

Public life

Reformation Day is a public holiday in the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In these states, post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed.

Stores in some tourist areas may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open. Public transport schedules vary depending on where one lives or wants to travel. This event is not a public holiday in the rest of Germany.

Background

Martin Luther was a monk, theologian and religious reformer. Many people also see him as the “Father of Protestantism”. During his life, he became disenchanted with the power that the Catholic Church had over people’s lives. He was particularly concerned about the sale of indulgences.

Indulgences are documents issued by the Catholic Church to grant full or partial pardon of sins. They are usually issued after prayer and good works. However, indulgences were also sold to finance projects sponsored by the Catholic Church around the 1500s. To express his concerns, Martin Luther nailed written works, known as The 95 Theses, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. In doing this, he started the Reformation.

The Reformation period started in Europe, particularly in Germany, in 1517 CE and ended around 1648 CE. It was a time of large religious and social changes.  The Catholic Church’s power and its role in mediating between the word of God and the general population were attached and many new Christian movements evolved.

Reformation Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedOct 311990Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
ThuOct 311991Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SatOct 311992Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SunOct 311993Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
MonOct 311994Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
TueOct 311995Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
ThuOct 311996Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
FriOct 311997Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SatOct 311998Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SunOct 311999Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
TueOct 312000Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
WedOct 312001Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
ThuOct 312002Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
FriOct 312003Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SunOct 312004Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
MonOct 312005Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
TueOct 312006Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
WedOct 312007Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
FriOct 312008Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SatOct 312009Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SunOct 312010Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
MonOct 312011Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
WedOct 312012Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
ThuOct 312013Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
FriOct 312014Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
SatOct 312015Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
MonOct 312016Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, MVP, SN, ST, TH
TueOct 312017Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, HB, MVP, NDS, SN, ST, TH
WedOct 312018Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, HB, MVP, NDS, SN, ST, TH
ThuOct 312019Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, HB, MVP, NDS, SN, ST, TH
SatOct 312020Reformation DayCommon Local holidaysBB, HB, MVP, NDS, SN, ST, TH

Other holidays in October 2014 in Germany

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