Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Tag der Einheit

Today, 3 October, is ‘Tag der Einheit’ (literally, ‘day of oneness’). It is a public holiday to celebrate the reunification of Germany and has been in place since 1990.

It probably seems pretty weird to UK readers that there is a public holiday midweek. But that’s what it is like here. There is no such thing as a Monday 'Bank Holiday'. Holidays here happen to celebrate anniversaries of events, religious or secular, and therefore the day of the week on which they take place can shift.

There are lots of public holidays compared to the UK. Technically, not being employed at the moment, I don’t benefit so much from this. Except to say that it is nice when Simon has a day off and can be at home.

All public holidays in Germany, apart from Tag de Einheit, are set by the federal states. This means you can get the situation where our area (North Rhine-Westphalia) celebrates All Saints Day on 1 November (Yay, less than a month until the next holiday!) but it isn't celebrated in Berlin. There are 11 public holidays per year in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is pretty good. Bavaria has the most of any state, though, with an exciting score of 13 days. In England there are only 8 per year. I think the Germans have the right idea myself. A little bit of extra time to chill...

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