Easter Alert

There are 5 major breaks each year when schools are closed and many people take part or all of the six weeks of yearly vacation. They are listed as Schulferien and are very much like our vacations. They are:  Herbstferien (Fall vacation), Weihnachtsferien (Christmas vacation),  Winterferien (Winter vacation), Osterferien (Easter vacation), and the biggie, Sommerferien (Summer vacation), when theaters close and most people take the biggest part of their six weeks of allowed vacation. What makes this complicated is that each of the 16 Bundesländer take these vacations on a different schedule. This is both so that the entire country won’t shut down at one time, and to give each Bundesland control over their schedule. Summer vacation is always six weeks but starts anywhere from the first week in June until very early August. Each Bundesland rotates starting dates yearly. Only the two southern Bundesländer keep the same dates at the end of July/early August until early September-Bayern (Bavaria , where Munich is) and Baden-Würtenberg (where Stuttgart is), probably due to agricultural and historical reasons.
Unlike the USA, Germany does not separate church and state. In fact religions are officially recognized and supported by the government, from tax returns, where you can contribute to one or another of them or opt out, to public holidays. Holidays (Feiertagen) vary from State to State, depending on history and population. Thus Köln(Cologne), Mainz and other cities colonized by the Romans west of the Rhein river celebrates many Catholic holidays which Berlin or Hannover, which wwere historically Protestant (Evangelisch) do not. It’ what makes the Old World old and can be confusing and surprising. You can keep track of these as well on schulferien.org where they are listed as Feiertagen.

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