Bank and public holidays in Germany: 2017-2018 guide

TransferWise content team
23.07.18
4 minute read

Holidays in Germany are celebrated differently than in many parts of the world. Germans take their holidays very seriously, with celebrations that are steeped in tradition. Which holidays are celebrated depends on the part of the country you're in, so it’s very important to do your research and know which celebrations are customary for the locations you plan to visit. Read on for a guide to everything you need to know about national holidays in Germany.

National holidays in Germany

There are 15 national holidays in Germany each year.

  • German public holidays: 15
  • German bank holidays: 11

Celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Germany

Mother’s Day in Germany originated during WWII, when medals were given to mothers who produced children for the Vaterland, or Fatherland. After the war, the holiday took on American customs, and today, it’s often celebrated with brunch and a large family meal in the evening. Children will often give small gifts to their mothers as well.

Father’s Day in Germany is a very different celebration than in other parts of the world. It’s always celebrated on Ascension Day, which is the Thursday 40 days after Easter, and many people also take the following Friday off work, resulting in a four-day weekend. Groups of men will work together to pull a wagon full of alcohol and ham on a hiking tour, showing off their manly strength. After the hike, they eat and drink. The holiday is used for many as an excuse to get extremely drunk. In some smaller towns, a tradition is still practiced in which all the men in the town are gathered in the town centre, where the mayor awards the man with the most children with a gift, usually a large ham.

The most important holidays and dates in Germany

Germany celebrates a number of important holidays. One of the country’s most widely celebrated national holidays is German Unity Day, which commemorates the official date of Germany’s reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. On this day, politicians give speeches and special TV programming about German history is on for families to enjoy on their day off. In Berlin, there’s live music and other festivities.

Germany also celebrates Swiss National Day, which is marked by public fireworks displays in major cities.

The German holiday that many is the world know about is Oktoberfest, which is a two-week festival that begins in mid-September and ends on the first Sunday of October. Oktoberfest isn’t recognized as a public or national holiday, but draws millions of revelers to Munich for the annual celebration. The first Oktoberfest was a wedding for a Bavarian princess, which was so widely attended, the royal family held another celebration the following year. Today, Oktoberfest is a lot like a large state fair, with carnival rides, games and lots of food and beer.

List of public holidays in Germany for 2017

HolidayName of holiday in German2017 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNeujahrstag1 January, 2017Yes
Epiphany Day or Three Kings DayEpiphanie, Epiphanias or Erscheinung des Herrn6 January, 2017Yes
Good FridayKarfreitag14 April, 2017Yes
Easter MondayOstermontag17 April, 2017Yes
May Day or Labour DayTag der Arbeit1 May, 2017Yes
Ascension DayChristi Himmelfahrt25 May, 2017Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayPfingstmontag5 June, 2017Yes
Corpus ChristiFronleichnam15 June, 2017Yes
Assumption DayMariae Himmelfahrt, Mariae Aufnahme in den Himmel15 August, 2017No
German Unity DayTag der Deutschen Einheit3 October, 2017Yes
Day of Reformation31 October, 2017No
All Saints DayAllerheiligen1 November, 2017No
Repentance DayBuss- und Bettag22 November, 2017No
Christmas DayWeihnachten25 December, 2017Yes
Boxing DayWeihnachtsfeiertag, Stephanstag26 December, 2017Yes

List of public holidays in Germany for 2018

HolidayName of holiday in German2018 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNeujahrstag1 January, 2018Yes
Epiphany Day or Three Kings DayEpiphanie, Epiphanias or Erscheinung des Herrn6 January, 2018Yes
Good FridayKarfreitag30 March, 2018Yes
Easter MondayOstermontag2 April, 2018Yes
May Day or Labour DayTag der Arbeit1 May, 2018Yes
Ascension DayChristi Himmelfahrt10 May, 2018Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayPfingstmontag21 May, 2018Yes
Corpus ChristiFronleichnam31 May, 2018Yes
Assumption DayMariae Himmelfahrt, Mariae Aufnahme in den Himmel15 August, 2018No
German Unity DayTag der Deutschen Einheit3 October, 2018Yes
Day of Reformation31 October, 2018No
All Saints DayAllerheiligen1 November, 2018No
Repentance DayBuss- und Bettag21 November, 2018No
Christmas DayWeihnachten25 December, 2018Yes
Boxing DayWeihnachtsfeiertag, Stephanstag26 December, 2018Yes

List of public holidays in Germany for 2019

HolidayName of holiday in German2019 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNeujahrstag1 January, 2019Yes
Epiphany Day or Three Kings DayEpiphanie, Epiphanias or Erscheinung des Herrn6 January, 2019Yes
Good FridayKarfreitag19 April, 2019Yes
Easter MondayOstermontag22 April, 2019Yes
May Day or Labour DayTag der Arbeit1 May, 2019Yes
Ascension DayChristi Himmelfahrt30 May, 2019Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayPfingstmontag10 June, 2019Yes
Corpus ChristiFronleichnam20 June, 2019Yes
Assumption DayMariae Himmelfahrt, Mariae Aufnahme in den Himmel15 August, 2019No
German Unity DayTag der Deutschen Einheit3 October, 2019Yes
Day of Reformation31 October, 2019No
All Saints DayAllerheiligen1 November, 2019No
Repentance DayBuss- und Bettag20 November, 2019No
Christmas DayWeihnachten25 December, 2019Yes
Boxing DayWeihnachtsfeiertag, Stephanstag26 December, 2019Yes

Sending money home for the holidays in Germany?

Need to send money home for the holidays in Germany? Instead of making an international bank transfer, try TransferWise, which will allow you to move money as quickly as possible for as little as possible. TransferWise moves money between local accounts, so it never crosses borders, which means you don’t pay any international or intermediary fees. TransferWise uses the actual exchange rate, like you'd see on Google, without any hidden fees or markups. All you pay is a small transfer fee that’s spelled out upfront. It’s easy, fast and secure.

TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which give users the ability to manage, send and receive money in several global currencies at once. If you live in one country and get paid in the UK, the US, the EU or Australia, then you can even get bank details to get paid like a local. Borderless account holders will even have access to consumer debit cards beginning in 2018.

Try TransferWise today to see how easy it can really be to send money abroad.

Now that you know Germany’s important dates and customs, you’re ready to celebrate like a local. What’s even better is that you won’t get caught needing a bank when they’re all closed for a holiday. Happy holidays!

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