Reformation Day

Traditionally celebrated on October 31st – on the same day as Halloween – Reformation Day is a Protestant holiday that commemorates the Reformation movement started by Martin Luther in the 16th century. In many of the German states it is a public holiday, and as such many arms of the government and court system are often closed. In the U.S., this commemorative holiday is usually moved to the Sunday before Halloween, a day known as Reformation Sunday.


On Halloween of 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church. These 95 Theses expressed his concerns over corruption found in the Catholic church. One of his primary concerns was the church selling “indulgences” to people in order to release them from having to serve penitence for their sins. An act which he considered to be people trying to buy their way into heaven. This act opened up a debate with religious scholars of the time that eventually lead to the Protestant Reformation.

Reformation Day has been observed as a holiday since the mid-16th century, but its official date of October 31st was set until about 1717. This is when it became an official German observance and the date from which it would spread on an international level.

Customs, Traditions And Observances

This observance day is celebrated in many different ways all across Europe and North America. Some people observe the day from a religious standpoint and use it to attend special church services. Other people observe it as any other public holiday and take the time to shop or sight-see. Areas around Germany often see an influx of visitors on this day. This is especially true in Austria and Switzerland.


Reformation Day is an important day that allows Protestants to not only reflect on the history of their religion, but also one that is important in honoring the core belief system of Protestantism.

Where is Reformation Day celebrated?

Chile, Germany, Slovenia Show all 3 locations