Harvest Festival in Germany

Harvest Festival in Germany is celebrated on the first Sunday of October and is very similar to American Thanksgiving, although there are some very important differences. This holiday follows the Grape Harvest Festival, a holiday that’s more commonly known around the world as Oktoberfest.

One of the main activities that are celebrated on this holiday is the Thanksgiving church services. In churches, the altars are decorated with vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts to honor God. It’s also a day that’s observed by having a meal featuring fattened chicken or turkey, and with Thanksgiving parades that are celebrated across the country.

The History Of Harvest Festival In Germany

The Harvest Festival is known as Erntedanksfest in Germany, which means “Thanks for the Harvest Festival” in German. It’s a holiday that goes back thousands of years to pagan harvest festivals. It was then adopted by both Catholic and Protestant churches over the years and changed into more of a religious holiday.

It was a way for rural communities to give thanks for the harvest, but it’s now a widespread holiday that’s observed all across Germany. The Catholic Church decreed that the Harvest Festival be celebrated on the First Sunday in October.

This is the first Sunday after Michaelstag and is close to the fall equinox. According to tradition, all harvest festivals were supposed to be done by Michaelstag, so as not to interfere with the farmer’s need to prepare for the winter season.

Observing The Harvest Festival In Germany

In most communities across Germany, the Harvest Festival is observed on the first Sunday in October, but not all communities celebrate it on that day. In some communities, it’s observed earlier or later than this date. Some communities will celebrate this holiday as a single day, while others will turn the entire weekend into a 3-day holiday.

These communities will begin with a Friday night mass, complete the decoration of the church on Saturday, and then have a dance. On Sunday, there’s the mass and then usually a feast and a concert.

Where is it celebrated?
Germany (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2023)
October 1 Sunday
Next year (2024)
October 6 Sunday
Last year (2022)
October 2 Sunday