25 years German Reunification on 3rd October 2015
October 3rd marks the “Day of German Unity” ever since the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and West Germany reunited in 1990. Since then, the day is celebrated as a public holiday.
Following World War II, the area that was Germany was divided into four military sectors controlled by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. On May 23, 1949, the sectors controlled by France, the United Kingdom and the United States became the Federal Republic of Germany. On October 7, 1949, the sector controlled by the Soviet Union became the German Democratic Republic, which in Germany is generally referred to as the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).
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. Life in the DDR was characterized by harsh repression against political adversaries. Thousands of inhabitants were kept under intimate surveillance by the infamous East German secret police, the Stasi (Staatssicherheit). At least 137 people died trying to escape from the DDR.
On September 4, 1989 citizens of Leipzig protested peacefully against the DDR government. More so-called “Monday demonstrations” soon took place in other cities across the DDR. The protests called for political reform and to open the borders. On November 9, 1989, the checkpoints between the two countries were opened and people were allowed to travel freely. This date marked the “fall” of the Berlin wall.
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.
How germans celebrate their national holiday?
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.
German unity day is the only federal, nationwide holiday in Germany! All other bank holidays in Germany are determined by the states.
To celebrate the German reunifiction a three-day festival will take place around Brandenburg Gate and “Straße des 17. Juni”. In that area, various stages host live bands and stands sell food, drinks, sweets and beer gardens. The festival includes an entertainment offer for the whole family.
Day of German Unity – Festival
When: 02. – 04. October 2015
Daily from 10 – midnight ; on the 4th to 8pm
Where: Brandenburg Gate, Straße des 17. Juni
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