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New Year's Day in Germany

New Year's Day (Neujahr, Neujahrstag) is a public holiday in Germany. It is on January 1, also known as the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. Many people begin the New Year at midnight between December 31 and January 1 with sparkling wine and fireworks.

Is New Year's Day a Public Holiday?

New Year's Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Firework celebrations occur on New Year's Day in many parts of Germany.

©iStockphoto.com/Andrew Chambers

What Do People Do?

Many people begin January 1 by celebrating the end of the old year and the start of the new one at midnight. These celebrations include public concerts, parties and fireworks and may last into the early hours of January 1. Many people spend the rest of the day quietly, but some organize a communal lunch or evening meal with friends or family.

In some regions, local media compete to find and publish a photograph of the first baby born in the New Year. Classical orchestras may present a special music program known as a New Year's Concert in the afternoon or evening. Germany's Chancellor makes a televised New Year's speech.

Public Life

New Year's Day is a public holiday in Germany. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. However, some tourist stores may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open. There are some restrictions selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives or where they want to travel.

Background

There have been winter celebrations in Europe for thousands of years. The origins of these celebrations lie in pre-Christian beliefs about the need to entice the Sun back to the Earth during the long winters in the northern hemisphere. However, January 1 has not always been the first day of the New Year. Until around 153 BCE, the ancient Roman New Year was celebrated on March 1 in the area that is now Germany.

From 153 BCE and in the Roman empire, New Year's Day was on January 1. However, in some parts of Germany, March 25 was observed as New Year's Day until the 13th century or even the 16th century. January 1 was widely accepted as New Year's Day after this period.

About New Year's Day in other countries

Read more about New Year's Day.

New Year's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015ThuJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2016FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2017SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2018MonJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2019TueJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2020WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2021FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2022SatJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2023SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2024MonJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2025WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 

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