• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Is it really illegal to dance at Easter in Germany?

DPA/The Local · 2 Apr 2015, 16:18

Published: 02 Apr 2015 14:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Apr 2015 16:18 GMT+02:00

On Good Friday, the beginning of the four-day Easter weekend, it will be illegal to dance in public in 13 out of the 16 states in Germany, with the remaining three enforcing a partial ban during the day.

Some states take the religious festival more seriously than others, with the strictest states being Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria in the south.

In Baden-Württemberg there is a three-day long ban from Maundy Thursday until Easter Saturday.

In Bavaria over a four day period from the previous Wednesday to Easter Saturday dancing is only permitted in a two hour window. Any kind of music is strictly forbidden in public places.

Even in Berlin, Germany's party capital, dancing is illegal from 4am to 9pm on Good Friday. These might not seem like typical party hours, but clubbing in Berlin can often work on a different timetable.

But it would seem that party-goers in Berlin have nothing to worry about.

Joachim Wenz, head of the public order office for Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a popular district for Berlin nightlife, told radio station rbb: "Over the last six years since I've been here we haven’t been active in enforcing the law."

Religious reasoning

The thinking behind the 60-year-old law is a sign of respect for Christians, for whom Good Friday and Easter Saturday are days of mourning for Jesus' death, and are considered "holidays of silence".

"On Good Friday and Easter Sunday it's about taking a pause to show consideration for those grieving," Heike Krohn, spokeswoman for the Berlin-Brandenburg Evangelical Church, told rbb.

Good Friday processions in Bavaria in 2014. Photo: DPA

Although roughly two thirds of the German population is Christian, religion in Germany varies a great deal by region.

The south and the west are traditionally very Christian, but the east of the country is one of the least religious areas in the world.

While the national percentage of non-religious people is thought to be around 30 percent, there is a non-religious majority in the east, with around 50 percent considering themselves atheists.

This perhaps explains the more relaxed laws on dancing bans in eastern states like Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, as well as the capital.

Time for reform?

The ban has been met with opposition from groups like the Pirate Party, who have organized public dance events in protest in previous years.

Story continues below…

Protest against the dancing ban in Frankfurt in 2012. Photo: DPA

Bavaria has already relaxed its laws slightly and the local government in Stuttgart wants to follow suit.

In the coming weeks discussions are on the agenda on changing the ban, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Baden-Württemberg restaurant association Dehoga has criticized the ban, saying that "a sensible liberalization wouldn't be an attack on the law protecting public holidays".

Whether the ban is actually enforced in Baden-Württemberg remains unclear, but a number of different clubs had events listed across the Easter weekend, including Lehmann Club, Romy S. and Kowalski.

By Matty Edwards

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ansbach suicide attack
Isis says Syrian bomber in Bavaria one of its 'soldiers'
Photo: DPA

The Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up outside a music festival in Germany was a "soldier" of the Isis, the jihadist-linked Amaq news agency said on Monday.

Merkel's refugee policy was 'reckless': Left Party leader
Photo: DPA

The attacks carried out by refugees over the past week show accepting large numbers of refugees brings "significant problems", the party's chairwoman said on Monday.

Ansbach suicide attack
What we know about the Ansbach suicide bomber
The attacker's rucksack. Photo: DPA

He had had his asylum application rejected and had twice attempted suicide, say authorities.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach suicide bomber confirms Isis loyalty in video
Police remove evidence from the bombers residence. Photo: DPA

The man who blew himself up in Ansbach, Bavaria, on Sunday evening, injuring 15 people, recorded a video in which he pledged his allegiance to terror group Isis.

Top 10 German firms with the highest-paid employees
Photo: DPA

Want to know which companies shell out the most for salaries?

How will Germany change after string of bloody attacks?
A policeman in Ansbach on Sunday evening. Photo: DPA

Within seven days Germany has been hit by four bloody attacks on innocent people on its streets and in a train. What does this unprecedented string of murders mean for the country?

After attacks, minister rejects blanket suspicion of refugees
Thomas de Maiziere. Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday cautioned Germans against indiscriminately branding all refugees a security threat after a rash of attacks over the last week.

What we know about the Reutlingen knife attack
Police arrest the attacker. Photo: DPA

... and what we don't.

Munich shooting
Police arrest possible accomplice of Munich gunman
Mourners in Munich. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Munich believe that a friend of the teenager who murdered nine people at a Munich shopping centre may have known about his plans.

Ansbach suicide attack
Suicide bomber attacks bar in Bavaria
Photo: DPA

A Syrian migrant set off an explosion at a bar in southern Germany that killed himself and wounded a dozen others late Sunday, authorities said, the third attack to hit Bavaria in a week.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,700
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd