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Reformation Day 2021

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At a glance

Reformation Day 2021Sunday October 31, 2021
Reformation Day 2022Monday, October 31, 2022
Reformation Day 2023Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Reformation Day 2024Thursday October 31, 2024
  • Public holidays in Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia
  • no public holiday in other German federal states
  • no public holiday in Austria and Switzerland

Reformation Day is a religious holiday on the day before All Saints Day. On this day, Protestant Christians celebrate the Reformation of the Church by Martin Luther in 1517. Reformation Day 2021 falls on Sunday, October 31, 2021. In 2021, Reformation Day is again a regional holiday in the new federal states (excluding Berlin). Only in 2017 was he unemployed throughout Germany.

Where is Reformation Day a public holiday?

BrandenburgNational holiday
BremenNational holiday
HamburgNational holiday
Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaNational holiday
Lower SaxonyNational holiday
SaxonyNational holiday
Saxony-AnhaltNational holiday
Schleswig-HolsteinNational holiday
ThuringiaNational holiday
Baden-Wuerttembergschool free
other German federal statesnot a holiday
Austrianot a holiday
Switzerlandnot a holiday

Reformation Day 2021 is a regional holiday in Germany: In the new federal states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, October 31 is a public holiday every year and is therefore non-working. Reformation Day has also been a public holiday in Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein since 2018. In Baden-Württemberg, Reformation Day is generally free of school. In some other federal states, Protestant students are to be exempted from teaching if they want to attend church services.

In Austria and Switzerland, October 31st is not a public holiday: In Austria, however, Protestant students have no school on Reformation Day, and Protestant workers must be able to attend the church service. In Switzerland, Reformation Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November, i.e. in 2021 on November 7, 2021.

In 2017, Reformation Day was a public holiday throughout Germany: on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the theses at the castle church in Wittenberg, a special regulation was created in all federal states to be able to celebrate this date appropriately. The Reformation Day 2017 was therefore free of work and school in all German federal states.

ChileNational holiday
SloveniaNational holiday

Outside the German-speaking area, Reformation Day 2021 is a public holiday in Chile and Slovenia. In Chile, the public holiday is set in such a way that there is a long weekend, in 2021 on Sunday, October 31, 2021.

When is Reformation Day?

Reformation Day 2021Sunday 31 October 2021
Reformation Day 2022Monday, October 31, 2022
Reformation Day 2023Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Reformation Day 2024Thursday October 31, 2024

Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 theses on the day before All Saints' Day in 1517, i.e. on October 31, 1517. That is why Reformation Day is celebrated on October 31 each year. In 2021, Reformation Day falls on a Sunday.

In Saxony, the next public holiday after Reformation Day is the day of penance and prayer. In all other federal states that celebrate Reformation Day, Christmas is again a public holiday.

What will be celebrated on Reformation Day 2021?

On Reformation Day, Protestant Christians celebrate that the forgiveness of sins is possible only through faith - in particular without confessional conditions such as indulgences. In Martin Luther's day it was customary to link the forgiveness of sins to monetary payments. Luther took the view that the forgiveness of sins had already taken place through Jesus' death on the cross.

Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses, in which he questioned the practice of selling indulgences, and sent them to the Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg on October 31, 1517. The hoped-for reaction did not materialize, so that Martin Luther distributed his theses to acquaintances and thus made them public.

Whether Martin Luther actually proposed his theses to the castle church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, can neither be proven nor refuted. Nevertheless, this date is celebrated today as Reformation Day.

Martin Luther's Reformation initiated a change in the church: monks and nuns are allowed to leave the monasteries. Evangelical pastors are allowed to marry. The services will be held in German for the first time. The divine services focus on the preaching and the Lord's Supper, and chants are accompanied by the organ.

Incidentally, the split in the church from which the Evangelical Church emerged was not at all intended by Martin Luther. In fact, he actually wanted to reform the Catholic Church.

Who Was Martin Luther?

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben as the son of a farmer and miner. The day after his birth, Martin's Day in 1483, he was baptized in the name of Martin. In neighboring Mansfeld, Martin Luther grew up with nine siblings in a not overly pious family.

After his time in the Mansfeld city school, Martin Luther attended the cathedral school in Magdeburg and the parish school St. Georgen in Eisenach, where he learned fluent Latin. He then studied at the University of Erfurt.

During a thunderstorm in 1505 he decided to become a monk and quickly rose to the position of deacon and priest in the monastery of the Augustinian emeritus in Erfurt.

From 1508 he studied theology at the University of Wittenberg. From the beginning he dealt with the subjects of penance, confession and repentance. In 1512 Martin Luther received his doctorate in theology and was given the chair of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg, which he held until his death on February 18, 1546.

The Luther Bible

An essential contribution of Martin Luther to the reform of the church was his translation of the Bible into German. His translation of the New Testament from Latin, and especially ancient Greek, was published in 1522. With the help of other theologians, a complete translation of the Bible was completed by 1534. For this purpose, Luther also used ancient Hebrew and Aramaic original texts.

An online edition of the Luther Bible can be found here: https://www.die-bibel.de/bibeln/online-bibeln/lutherbibel-2017/bibeltext/

Due to the popularity of the Luther Bible, the Catholic Church soon published its own translation - with the help of Martin Luther's preparatory work.

Special feature for Reformation Day 2017

2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation when Luther posted his theses in Wittenberg. For this reason, Reformation Day 2017 was exceptionally a public holiday in all federal states. The federal states, in which Reformation Day is otherwise not a public holiday, had to create their own laws and ordinances specifically for 2017 that set Reformation Day 2017 as a public holiday; i.e. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland.

Since Reformation Day 2018, the previous regulation will apply again. October 31, 2018 will only be a public holiday in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Source: https://www.ekd.de/Reformationstag-10834.htm

*) All statements without guarantee. See also disclaimer.