Pfingsten (Pentecost) is a public holiday in Germany. Weekend festivals and picnics are the way to celebrate. This is a two-day holiday that is celebrated seven weeks after Easter.
For example, in 2010 it's May 23-24, in 2012 it's May 27-28, in 2014 it's June 8-9 and in 2016 it's May 15-16. It is also called Whit Sunday and Whit Monday.
Throughout Germany, the celebrations take on many forms.
Often these are candlelit processions.
First and foremost, this is a Christian celebration that remembers the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the followers of Jesus.
Huge parades with horses and bands are held in Eastern Bavaria. The medieval towns of Rothenburg and Schwaebisch Hall have elaborate festivals. Frankfurt's festival is celebrated in the woods.
Pfingstbaumpflanzen (wreaths) decorate birch trees in Lower Saxony. Because the birch tree is just starting to leaf, tradition has single women finding a birch branch nailed to their side of the house from their secret admirer.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, large wreaths (Pfingstenkranz) are placed in the town squares. These wreath structures are about 30 feet high. Around these the townsfolk dance and sing traditional songs .
In Southern Germany, the tradition in the rural mountain villages is to decorate the prize cattle and lead them through the streets.
Since it is in late spring, the weather is usually warm.
This makes picnics the ideal treat.
So if you live in a part of the world where spring occurs the same time as it does in Germany, then go ahead, celebrate it this way as well.
Pull out your picnic menus -- and enjoy the great outdoors!
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*Kaffeeklatsch: /ˈkafeːˌklatsh / (noun) an informal gathering for coffee and chatting
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