All Saints’ Day spells closures in several German states

All Saints’ Day spells closures in several German states

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Should you live in the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate or Saarland, Sunday, November 1 will most likely offer you an easier commute on the one hand, but on the other, closures of the local businesses you might depend on.

The above-mentioned Bundesländer are observing the public holiday known as "Allerheiligen," or All Saints’ Day. This religious holiday is observed in the states in which Catholicism is the dominant Christian belief.

As its name suggests, it’s a day to remember the lives of the saints, or more broadly interpreted, those who lived devout and holy lives in accordance with church doctrine. In practical terms, it is a time to honor the memory of loved ones who have passed on, and if possible, to visit their graves. While Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day known as "Allerseelen" would actually be the more appropriate day to pay tribute to departed relatives and loved ones, this day isn’t a public holiday; hence the spillover.

Those of the Catholic faith might attend a special church service, light candles and offer prayers to their favorite saints, as well as to their deceased family and friends. German cemeteries, almost inevitably oases of tranquility and great natural beauty, will be decorated with flowers and special candles designed to withstand the elements and burn for a long time, even up to days on end. Followers of the Protestant faith honor family members who have passed away on the last Sunday before the first Advent Sunday, a day known as Totensonntag. The day falls on Nov. 22 in 2020. 


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