Tag der Deutschen Einheit
The Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), also referred to as German Unity Day, is Germany's national day. It is celebrated on October 3, commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990.A single German state first emerged in 1871, when the German Empire was founded. Otto von Bismark made a significant contribution to the country's first unification. In 1919, the Weimar Republic took its place. In 1933, the Nazis took power and started World War II in 1939.
The two countries developed very different political and economic systems and, due to the political tensions in post-war Europe, there was little contact between the
inhabitants of the two countries. A protest against the German Democratic Republic's government occurred in Leipzig on September 4, 1989. More demonstrations took
place across the German Democratic Republic.The protests called for political reform and to open the borders.
These events lead to political change. Democratic elections paved the way for unity in the German Democratic Republic on March 18, 1990. The "Treaty of Unification"
was signed by both countries' leaders in August that year. Finally, Germany's unification became official on October 3, 1990.
What do people do?
Many people have a day off work and big public celebrations are organized. These include:
- Speeches by politicians and other leaders.
- Communal meals.
- Food and culture presentations from Germany's regions.
The celebrations' atmosphere is festive, welcoming and safe. Each year a different city hosts the national celebrations. Many mosques in Germany are open to the general public on October 3. This is an initiative to stimulate contact between Muslims and non-Muslims and to emphasize the role that Muslims played in forming modern Germany. German Unity Day is the only national holiday in Germany, as all other holidays are administered by the individual states.
German Unity Day is a public holiday in Germany so post offices, banks and many businesses are closed. Nearly all stores are closed, although a few may be open in some city areas. Bakeries, petrol stations and stores at railway stations, airports and near highways are often open. Public transport services may run as usual, at a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or intends to travel. There may be some disruption to traffic around large celebrations.
The Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin wall were two important symbols of Germany's division following World War II and Berlin's and Germany's unification in 1990. Images of the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin wall's destruction are often displayed on German Unity Day. The German unification treaty also symbolizes the day and its meaning.
Germany's flag is displayed, particularly on public buildings, on German Unity Day. This flag is three units high and five units wide and is divided horizontally into thirds. The top third is jet black, the middle third traffic red and the bottom third is yellow. Together these colors represent the freedom of Germany as a whole and each of its people. In the past, the colors represented: the darkness of servitude (black); bloody conflict (red); and the light of freedom (yellow).