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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.

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

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonNov 12010All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
TueNov 12011All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuNov 12012All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
FriNov 12013All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
SatNov 12014All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
SunNov 12015All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
TueNov 12016All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
WedNov 12017All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
ThuNov 12018All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
FriNov 12019All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL
SunNov 12020All Saints' DaySilent Day, public holidayBW, BY, NRW, RLP, SL

Quick Facts

All Saints' Day is an annual public holiday in five German states to remember all Christian saints on November 1.

All Saints' Day 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018 (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland)

All Saints' Day 2019

Friday, November 1, 2019 (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland)

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
AllerheiligenGerman
All Saints' DayEnglish
AllehelgensdagNorwegian

Alternative name

All Hallows' Day

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in November 2018 in Germany

World Holiday on November 1, 2018

Fun Holidays on November 1, 2018

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