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October 3: Day of German Unity–Tag der Deutschen Einheit

 

A relatively recent national holiday in Germany, October 3 has been THE national holiday of Germany since 1990, roughly one year after East and West Germany were reunited, following the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. Since 1990, different major cities have hosted an official celebration for the Day of German Unity. Usually, the event takes place in the capital of the state which the then-active Chair of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) represents (complete list of host cities). The first celebration in 1990, fittingly, german unitywas held in Berlin. In 2013, Stuttgart is host to the official festivities October 2-3. This year’s motto is „Zusammen einzigartig“—together unique—and Winfried Kretschmann, the prime minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg, emphasized the strength that Germany has gained from its many unique and diverse states and regions. The program at this year’s celebration includes numerous cultural and political activities, as well as concerts and performances. It also features a special area—the «Ländermeile »–that introduces visitors to each of the German Federal States (an online version is also available).

In addition to the official celebration, many cities and regions commemorate the anniversary of reunification with local festivities. This year, in 2013, Coca-Cola has organized a big street festival around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It features the world’s largest live karaoke show and many other musical performances and family activities. The Europa Park in Rust has organized a car show with 50 historical „Trabis“—East Germany’s Trabant cars—to honor the reunification.

In general, however, Germans, individually, don’t celebrate the Day of German Unity in the same way that Americans, for example, celebrate the Fourth of July. People are happy to get a day off work, but they don’t have picnics, fireworks, and specific customs to mark the occasion. Maybe a few more German flags than usual will be blowing in the breeze, but real German patriotism is usually reserved for those days when the German national soccer team is in action.

A slow German podcast about the Day of German Unity: http://www.slowgerman.com/tag/tag-der-deutschen-einheit/

The official website for the „Tag der deutschen Einheit“: http://www.tag-der-deutschen-einheit.de/

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