Where is October 31st a public holiday – overview of the federal states

Hanover. Reformation Day is a holiday of the Evangelical Church and is important for Protestants around the world. Reformation Day is also celebrated in Germany and commemorated with numerous church services. As a public holiday, it is also a day off in nine federal states. We’ll tell you when, where and why you’re free on Reformation Day 2022.

When is Reformation Day 2022 in Germany?

Reformation Day takes place on October 31, 2022, a Monday.

The date is based on the day on which Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517. This day was said to be the day before All Saints’ Day (November 1st), i.e. October 31st, 1517.

In the years to come, Reformation Day falls on the following days of the week:

  • Reformation Day 2023 on October 31, Tuesday
  • Reformation Day 2024 on October 31, Thursday
  • Reformation Day 2025 on October 31, Friday

Reformation Day in the Federal States: Where is Reformation Day a public holiday?

Reformation Day is currently recognized as a public holiday by nine federal states:

  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig Holstein
  • Thuringia

In these states, everyone has Reformation Day off.

Why is there Reformation Day and what is the Reformation?

The Reformation was initiated by Martin Luther, a German theologian and church politician who wanted to renew the Catholic Church almost 500 years ago. He criticized the fact that the Pope and the Catholic Church made rules for their believers that were not in the Bible in this form. This included, for example, the sale of indulgences.

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For this reason he formulated 95 theses that should reform, i.e. transform, the church. However, the Pope did not get involved in the Reformation, instead he had both Luther and his numerous followers persecuted. This is how the Evangelical Church came into being.

Although the Reformation Day is according to the Evangelical Church in Germany “Not a national holiday, but in the Protestant churches the events of October 31, 1517 are commemorated with church services”.

In these federal states, Reformation Day 2022 is NOT a public holiday

  • Bavaria
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • Berlin
  • Hesse
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Saarland

Although the predominantly Catholic federal states of Germany have to do without the day off on Reformation Day, they have the following day off on All Saints’ Day on November 1st – the only exceptions are Berlin and Hesse, where you have to work on both days.

Reformation Day and Halloween – are they in competition?

Although Reformation Day is a public holiday in many German federal states, most people are looking forward to Halloween, which takes place on the same day, October 31st. While the Reformation Day devotions take place during the day, the first Halloween parties only start in the evening or at night.

How do you celebrate Reformation Day?

On the day of the Reformation, services are held in all Protestant churches, which deal primarily with Martin Luther and his 95 theses. The significance of the Reformation for today is also discussed. Since Martin Luther also wrote a number of hymns, his composition “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is sung in many churches on Reformation Day. As a rule, the Reformation Day is not celebrated as a family celebration like Easter or Christmas.

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