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All Saints' Day in Germany

Catholics and some Protestants in Germany honor the lives of every saint on All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) on November 1. They also remember deceased relatives and visit their graves. This day is a public holiday in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Saarland.

Is All Saints' Day a Public Holiday?

All Saints' Day is a public holiday in 5 states, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

All Saints' Day in Germany is dedicated to the Christian saints.
All Saints' Day in Germany is dedicated to the Christian saints.
©iStockphoto.com/Mary Lane

What Do People Do?

Traditionally, Catholics attend a special church service, light candles and pray for deceased relatives. They may also visit the graves of deceased relatives and family friends. In Catholic areas, many graveyards are decorated with flowers and candles are lit as soon as it starts to get dark in the late afternoon. On November 1 or the closest Sunday, Protestants may also visit a special church service or pray for deceased relatives.

Public Life

All Saints' Day is a public holiday in Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Saarland. 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 be regular, reduced or have no service depending on where one lives and wants to travel. All Saints' Day is not a public holiday in other parts of Germany.

Background

Some sources say that All Saints' Day's origins date back to 609 CE or 610 CE, when the Pantheon in Rome was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin and all martyrs. This coincided with the pre-Christian Feast of the Lemures that honored all of the dead. However, other sources have different dates.

Symbols

All Saints' Day is represented by paintings and images of many saints together. The saints may surround or look towards a figure representing Jesus and be accompanied by angels. Saints are often represented with a golden halo above or behind their heads.

In some areas of Germany, a Newweling symbolizes All Saints' Day. A Newweling is made of two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone shaped form. The form is removed before the candle is lit. Traditionally, each candle wick is dipped in red, white, blue, yellow or green wax and two or more different colors are used for each candle.

About All Saints' Day in other countries

Read more about All Saints' Day.

All Saints' Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010MonNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2011TueNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2012ThuNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2013FriNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2014SatNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2015SunNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2016TueNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2017WedNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2018ThuNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2019FriNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
2020SunNov 1All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL

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