This month we celebrate our national holiday in Germany. The Day of German Unity is celebrated every 3rd of October, this year for the 27th time. This day was not always our national holiday.
National holidays in Germany’s history
Until 1871 Germany was divided into many small individual states and regions. It was the emperor Wilhelm who succeeded in unifying these and founding the German empire. At that time, the national holiday was on September 2, because on this day the French capitulated in the Franco-German war. Later the Weimar Republic was founded. This had its national holiday on the 11th of August, when on this date the constitution was signed by the President. During the Nazi period, the national holiday fell on May 1.
After the Second World War Germany was divided into the FRG (Federal republic of Germany) and the GDR (German Democratic Republic). In the FRG the national holiday was on June 17 and in the GDR it was the 7th October.
German Unity Day
Although the Berlin Wall fell on the 9th of November 1989, Germany was not united after this event. For this the GDR had to join the scope of the constitution (Article 23) in order to have a legal requirement for reunification. On 3rd October, the GDR’s official accession to the FRG took place.
At first the 9th of November, the day of the fall of the Wall, was conceived as a national holiday, but since on this day also the Reichsprogromnacht of 1938, in which many synagogues and Jewish shops were destroyed by nationalsocialists, this idea was discarded.
27 years of United Germany
Even if Germany has already been united for more than two decades, there are still differences between East and West. The different economic developments of the two countries made reunification difficult. As the GDR joined the FRG, the major changes took place in the East. Unemployment has fallen from about 20% to 10-12% since reunification, compared with the unemployment rate in the West at around 7-8%.
There is still an income gap between East and West, which has also led to a massive migration from the East.
However, the quality of life in the East has been aligned with the West.
Day of German Unification on 3rd October 2017
The Day of German Unity is organized every year by the state capital, which presides in the Federal Council. This year it would be Mainz. The festival takes place from 2-3 October under the motto “Together we are Germany”. Officially, the day begins with a church service in the Mainz Cathedral, followed by a ceremony and the reception of the Federal President. In addition to information, sports, cooperative offers and stage programs, all the federal states and the constitutional bodies of the Confederation also present themselves.