Day of Repentance and Prayer

Quick Facts - DE

AKA NameBuß- und Bettag
HashtagsCompiled on#Repent
2024 Date20 November 2024
2025 Date19 November 2025

Day of Repentance and Prayer

Day of Repentance and Prayer in
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Germany's Day of Repentance and Prayer, or Buß- und Bettag, is an occasion to engage in introspection, atonement, and supplication. The observance is characterised by various religious activities, including special church services, fasting, and personal or communal prayers. This event allows believers to come together and seek forgiveness for their past transgressions, thereby fostering spiritual growth and strengthening their bonds with God.

The tradition of a designated day for repentance and prayer can be traced back to the early 16th century, primarily in Evangelical regions of Germany. However, it wasn't until 1878 when the Buß- und Bettag became a public holiday nationwide. Over the years, this event has been reshaped by various political, social, and religious influences, such as the Second World War and German reunification. Today, the ritual holds particular importance for people of the Lutheran, Reformed, and United Protestant denominations in Germany.

Typically, the Day of Repentance and Prayer is observed on the Wednesday before November 23, placing it between November 16 and 22. On this day, adherents attend local church services or join in communal gatherings to pray together with their fellow worshipers. Depending on individual preferences and religious customs, some participants might also choose to fast as a means to demonstrate humility and self-discipline.

Top facts about Day of Repentance and Prayer

  • About 70% of Germans consider themselves to be Christians, about half of this number claim to be Protestant and the other half Catholic.
  • After WW2, in Eastern Germany, Catholics were persecuted for their beliefs. Communism did not support religion.
  • Buß- und Bettag was officially established as an annual day of observance in 1662 for the German territories under the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Buß- und Bettag was briefly abolished in 1934 by the Nazi regime in Germany but was re-established after World War II as a public holiday in both East and West Germany.

Day of Repentance and Prayer Top Things to Do

  • Generate awareness on social media by using hashtags such as #RepentanceandPrayer and #PrayandReflect.
  • Even though it's a quiet holiday, you might want to take the opportunity to explore German's cultural heritage visiting museums or historical sites like the Zwinger or Semperoper Dresden.
  • Given the holiday falls in November, if weather allows, people might take the opportunity to go for a hike or a walk in places like Saxon Switzerland National Park.

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