Sacramento German Genealogy Society
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Tuesday, October 3
Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity)   (Holiday)
This holiday commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990 when the goal of a unity of Germany that originated in the middle of the 19th century, was fulfilled. An alternative choice of date could have been the day the Berlin Wall came down – November 9, 1989, which coincided with the anniversary of the  proclamation of the German Republic in 1918 and the defeat of Hitler’s first coup in 1923. However, November 9 was also the anniversary of the first large-scale Nazi-led pogroms against Jews in 1938 (Kristallnacht); therefore, that day was considered inappropriate as a national holiday.

Friday, October 6
German-American Day (Deutsch-Amerikanischer Tag)  (Holiday)
This day celebrates German American American heritage and commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld, near the Rhine, arrived in Philadelphia. These families late founded Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlemnt in the original thirteen colonies.  In 1688, they organized the first petition in the English colonies to abolish slavery. Originally known as "German Day", the holiday was first celebrated in 1883 in Philadelphia on the 200th anniversary of the immigration of Krefeld settlers and was later celebrated in other parts of the USA. During World War I, the custom died out due to anti-German feelings that prevailed at the time. The holiday was revived in 1983 when President Reagan proclaimed October 6th as German-American Day to celebrate & honor the 300th anniversary of the first German immigrants to the U.S.

Tuesday, October 31
Reformationstag (Reformation Day)  (Holiday)
[Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen]
The date of Reformation Day was based on the October 31, 1517 date when Dr. Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences onto the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Wednesday, November 1
Allerheiligen (All Saints Day)  (Holiday)
[Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland]
All Saints Day celebrates all the saints, known and unknown.

Saturday, November 11
Martinstag (St. Martin's Day)  (Holiday)
A religious observance in Germany that is particularly popular with children.  It is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours and celebrates modesty and altruism, for which St. Martin was known. Many children make their own lanterns and on the evening of St. Martin's Day, there are lantern processions in towns and cities all over Germany.

Monday, December 4
St. Barbara's Day (Barbarazweig)  (Holiday)
In Germany, "Barbarazweig is the custom of bringing branches off cherry trees on this date, placing them in a vase of water to bloom on Christmas Day. In some areas, people bake Kletzenbrot. This day remembers St. Barbara who was locked in a tower by her father to preserve her purity whenever he left town.  There were two barred windows. However, after her baptism, Barbara ordered a third window to be made in honor of the Trinity.  Her father had her executed for this because she didn't get his permission.  A branch of a cherry tree got caught in her dress before her imprisonment.  She watered it daily and on the day of her execution, it bloomed!

Wednesday, December 6
St. Nicholas Day  (Holiday)
St. Nicholas of Myra is a popular Christian Saint among children across Europe because of his reputation as a bringer of gifts. 

Sunday, December 24
Heiligabend (Christmas Eve)  (Holiday)
December 24th begins as a regular workday. But by 2:00 pm, often even earlier, businesses close in preparation for the holiday celebration, a large part of which occurs on Christmas Eve in Germany.  The traditional evening meal includes carp and potato salad. Families sing Christmas carols together and may read the story of Christ's birth aloud.  Family members exchange gifts. The tradition of opening gifts on Heiligabend was started by Martin Luther in the 16th century in favor of a celebration than honored Christ rather than a Catholic saint. 

Monday, December 25
Weihnachten  (Holiday)
In preparation for Christmas, an Advent calendar is set up four Sundays before Christmas, and on December 6 the Weihnachtsmann (St. Nikolaus) arrives to fill children’s shoes. On Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) the Bescherung (exchanging of gifts) takes place. A big meal is served on Christmas day.

Monday, January 1, 2018
Neujahr (New Years Day)  (Holiday)
Winter celebrations have been common for thousands of years in Europe, tracing back to the need to entice the sun back to the earth during the long winters of the northern hemisphere. Until around 143 BCE, the ancient Roman New Year was celebrated on March 1 in the area that is now Germany.