Totensonntag (Sunday of the Dead) in Germany Date in the current year: November 24, 2024

Totensonntag (Sunday of the Dead) in Germany Totensonntag (Sunday of the Dead) is a Lutheran religious holiday when all deceased are honored and remembered. It is observed on the last Sunday before Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas.

Totensonntag was established by King Frederick William III of Prussia in 1816. Originally, it was observed by the Lutheran churches under Prussian rule, but eventually other Lutheran churches outside of Prussia followed suit.

Totensonntag is also referred to as Ewigkeitssontag, which means Eternity Sunday. It has the status of a protected holiday in all the states (Länder) of Germany. The holiday laws of almost all federal states, Hamburg being an exception, have special provisions that classify Sunday of the Dead either as a silent day or a memorial day. During silent days, music is forbidden in public venues or can be played only at certain hours.

It should be noted, that Totensonntag is observed only by Lutheran denominations. Catholics typically honor the deceased on All Souls' Day observed on November 2. In Germany, about 30% of the total population are Protestants while another 30% declare themselves as Catholics. Thus both holidays are observed.

Germany also has a separate holiday for honoring those who died in armed conflicts, Volkstrauertag.

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Totensonntag, Sunday of the Dead, holidays in Germany, Lutheran holiday, religious holiday