Repentance Day in Germany
The Day of Prayer and Repentance (Buss- und Bettag) is a public holiday in the state of Saxony, Germany. It is on the last Wednesday before November 23 and 11 days before the start of Advent. It is an occasion for Protestant Christians to pray or reflect on quiet thoughts.
What Do People Do?
Some Protestant Christians spend most of the Day of Prayer and Repentance in prayer or engage in quiet reflection or deep thoughts. For other people in the German state of Saxony, the day is an opportunity to spend time with family or friends.
The Day of Prayer and Repentance is a public holiday for many people in the state of Saxony in Germany. Post offices, banks, schools, stores and businesses are closed. However, some stores may be open, especially stores at railway stations, airports and along highways. The Day of Prayer and Repentance is not a holiday in other parts of Germany. However, some schools in the state of Bavaria may be closed.
Days of repentance were previously held on various dates. There were 47 days of repentance on 24 different dates in 28 German states in 1878. In 1893 a church council in Prussia decided that the day of repentance should fall on the Wednesday before the last Sunday in the church year and, hence, 11 days before the first Sunday in Advent. The Day of Prayer and Repentance was moved to a Sunday during World War II.
The day became a public holiday from that period until 1966 when it was abolished after the five-day week was introduced in the German Democratic Republic. The day was a public holiday in the Federal Republic of Germany (except Bavaria). It became a public holiday in Bavaria in 1952 but was observed mainly in Protestant areas. From 1981, it was also observed in Catholic areas.
The Day of Prayer and Repentance was a public holiday throughout the nation from Germany's unification in 1990 until the end of 1994. Germans exchanged the public holiday that year for health insurance improvements. However, Saxony has different health insurance arrangements and the state retained the public holiday.
Repentance Day Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Wed||Nov 17||2010||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 16||2011||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 21||2012||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 20||2013||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 19||2014||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 18||2015||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 16||2016||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 22||2017||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 21||2018||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 20||2019||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
|Wed||Nov 18||2020||Repentance Day||Common Local holidays||Saxony|
Quick FactsThe Day of Prayer and Repentance is a Protestant holiday and a public holiday in the state of Saxony (Sachsen) on the last Wednesday before November 23.
Repentance Day 2016Wednesday, November 16, 2016 (Saxony)
Repentance Day 2017Wednesday, November 22, 2017 (Saxony)
Name in other languages
|Buß- und Bettag||German|
|Bots- og bededag||Norwegian|
Other holidays in November 2016 in Germany
- All Saints' Day – Tuesday, November 1, 2016
- St. Martin's Day – Friday, November 11, 2016
- National Day of Mourning – Sunday, November 13, 2016
- Sunday of the Dead – Sunday, November 20, 2016
- First Sunday Advent – Sunday, November 27, 2016