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Whit Monday in Germany

Many Christians in Germany observe the Second Day of Pentecost, on the day after Pentecost (or Whitsunday). It is a national public holiday. Pentecost commemorates the Holy Ghost's descent on the Jesus Christ's disciples, according to the Bible.

Pentecost celebrations commemorate the belief that the Holy Spirit descended on to Jesus' followers.
Pentecost celebrations commemorate the belief that the Holy Spirit descended on to Jesus' followers.

What Do People Do?

Traditionally, there was a whole week of church based celebrations for Pentecost. The public holiday on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday is a reminder of these celebrations. In Germany, people mark the Second Day of Pentecost with various local and regional customs.

The night between Pentecost, or Whitsunday, and Pentecost Monday is known as the night of unrest (Unruhnacht or Bosheitsnacht). In the past, people thought that evil spirits were active during this night and would steal any property not locked away. Now, in some areas, young people play the role of the evil spirits and move small agricultural tools and garden benches to other properties. Young men may also nail birch branches to house walls of young women they want to marry.

The Pentecost week celebrations continue beyond Monday in some areas. The Tuesday after Pentecost Sunday is known as Forest Day (Waeldchestag) in Frankfurt am Main. A large party and fun fair are held in a wooded area of a park on the town's outskirts and neighboring suburbs. An outdoor play about the local history of the area and a historical festival are held in the town of Deidesheim.

The Wednesday after Pentecost Sunday is known as Garlic Wednesday (Knoblauchsmittwoch) in an area around the border between the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. The day was traditionally marked by eating a dish containing a lot of garlic. The celebrations were also political and were banned around 1870. However, the customs were recently revived.

Public Life

The second day of Pentecost is a public holiday in all German states. 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 on selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport services may run as usual, at a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or intends to travel.

Background and symbols

See the section below for more information on background and symbols. The day is also celebrated in other countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Whit Monday in other countries

Read more about Whit Monday.

Whit Monday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonMay 242010Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonJun 132011Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonMay 282012Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonMay 202013Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonJun 92014Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonMay 252015Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonMay 162016Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonJun 52017Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonMay 212018Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonJun 102019Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 
MonJun 12020Whit MondayNational holiday, Christian 

Quick Facts

The Second Day of Pentecost is, which is on the Monday after Pentecost (or Whitsunday), is a public holiday in Germany.

Whit Monday 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Whit Monday 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018


Name in other languages

Whit MondayEnglish
Annen pinsedagNorwegian

Alternative names

Pentecost MondayEnglish
Andre pinsedagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in June 2017 in Germany

United Nation Holiday on June 5, 2017

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