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Flashmob to break Easter dance ban in Frankfurt

The Local · 20 Apr 2011, 12:04

Published: 20 Apr 2011 12:04 GMT+02:00

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The entire German state of Hesse is covered by a ban on public dancing during those hours on a number of Easter holidays.

But the people of Frankfurt are no longer so accepting of the law, which in its current form dates back to 1952.

“With regards from the Taliban,” said Ralf Scheffler in a recent release. “A dance ban – you really have to let that sink in. You would only expect such rules in the areas ruled by the stone-age Islamists.”

His ire was provoked by a letter sent by Frankfurt City government to all club owners reminding them of the rule. The state law from 1952 says that people should not dance in public on Good Friday or Easter Sunday and Monday between 4 am and noon.

The youth organisation of the Green Party in the state is now calling for a flashmob of loosely organised people to show up in Frankfurt and break the law.

The Facebook page Anti-tanzverbot-smartmob calls for people to meet at the central Römerplatz at 4 pm.

They should bring personal music players and be ready to dance for 15 minutes to their own music, as soon as the town hall clock hits the hour. As of Wednesday afternoon, just under 1,000 people had signed up promising to be there.

“It is not the job of the state to secure the observation of Christian rites. Frankfurt city is referring to the Hessian holidays law. This must be modernised as soon as possible,” said Ouasima Chami and Benjamin Weiß, joint chairs of the Hesse Young Greens in a statement.

“Fewer and fewer people in Frankfurt belong to one of the Christian churches, so I think such a rule is absurd,” said Sarah Sorge, Green member of the Hessian state parliament in a statement supporting the flashmob idea.

“Freedom of religion is not reduced by people wanting to dance in certain places. Those who want to practice their religion on these days, or who feel religiously offended by people celebrating, can simply stay away from the dance events.”

But Hessian Interior Minister Boris Rhein, of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, said the rule was still relevant.

He said Hesse was a, “Christian-western oriented” state and that thus it was, “important and correct that there is no rock around the clock on the most important Christian holidays of the year.”

Although the ban is also still valid in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greens who are currently in coalition government and who disagree with it, are not going to expend their political energy changing it.

Sven Lehmann, head of the Greens in the state, said he wanted to start a discussion. “Our society is not only Christian; it is also Jewish, Muslim and secular.”

Story continues below…

A number of theatre and opera premiers which had been planned in the state for Friday have been postponed.

The churches have adopted a relatively pragmatic argument. “Those who campaign for the lifting of the special holiday quiet on Good Friday are doing nothing less than calling for more workdays,” said Nikolaus Schneider, head of the council for the Evangelical Church in Germany.

While Germans in general are happy to have the day off work, they are less likely than ever to be in church. A survey conducted by the polling company Yougov for the news agency dpa showed that 62 percent of those questioned would not go to church this Easter.

Yet they are also resisting the American trend of giving increasingly elaborate and expensive presents to each other on the holiday. Despite the best efforts of retailers, 76 percent said they would not be spending more than €25 on gifts.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 April 20, 2011 by khassi
there was no Islam in the stone-age..
13:19 April 20, 2011 by pseu
Was anyone arrested for this last year? I think it is a silly law, but who really is enforcing it and who would be dancing at that time in the morning anyway?

If you are going to make statements like:

Sven Lehmann, head of the Greens in the state, said he wanted to start a discussion. ¦quot;Our society is not only Christian; it is also Jewish, Muslim and secular.¦quot;

Then you should also strip other groups of their protections against insult. It is fully acceptable to make jokes and comics about Catholic priests molesting children, but you can't do the same about prophet Muhammed, or Jews and money.
14:04 April 20, 2011 by freechoice
really why do people have to dance on Easter? can't they dance any other days? do you see people dancing on Jewish Holocaust day? can't they respect the Son of God crucification on Good Friday?
14:27 April 20, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
"He said Hesse was a, ¦quot;Christian-western oriented¦quot; state and that thus it was, ¦quot;important and correct that there is no rock around the clock on the most important Christian holidays of the year.¦quot;"

That's a big load of nonsense. Nobody is going to twist any holiday-observing Christian's arm to go shake a leg on Good Friday. But instead, those zealots make people like me, agnostics and atheists, adhere to archaic religious rules that have zero relevance for us. I have a solution: if the sight of people getting down on the dancefloor or singing along in the pub on Good Friday offends you, stay the heck in your own four walls. But don't push your inane beliefs on others.

"¦quot;Those who campaign for the lifting of the special holiday quiet on Good Friday are doing nothing less than calling for more workdays,¦quot; said Nikolaus Schneider, head of the council for the Evangelical Church in Germany. "

again, I call BS. The issue here is not whether a no-work holiday should be abolished, but if a religious group should be allowed to suck the fun out of a Friday night out, for people who do not subscribe to their mythology and do not believe there is an old bearded man up in the sky.
15:34 April 20, 2011 by Altdude
I got busted (by management, not police) once in Aaaaaschaffenburg for dancing on some saint's day that I had never heard of. (Wondered why I was the only one on the dancefloor and thought I could get the joint jumpin'). There were about 100 people in the Nacht Cafe disco just sitting around while the music played and the lights flashed. Thought I had entered Bizzaroworld!
16:18 April 20, 2011 by frankiep
Is Kevin Bacon involved in this?
16:19 April 20, 2011 by jbaker
This is a World Run by Religions. It is No different than Governments run by Stalin,Bush(H&W),Napoleon,Hitler and the thousands of others that can be thought of. These leaders could easily have been heads of World Religions. The Majority of Humanity like to be lead like Sheep.
09:44 April 21, 2011 by MrBowlocks
Yes, people get, whereas not arrested, charged for breaking these 'laws' and issued with hefty fines and in the case of businesses, threatened with revokation of licences, etc, and the state get to keep all the money! It's not about the man in the sky and all about that little bit of social control the Germans love so well. Occasionally there will be a bleat of protest, but Germans are so programmed to mindlessly obey anybody with a piece of green card (Beamter for the uninitiated) that they will happily obey and shop their neighbours in the process, thereby ensuring preferential treatment from their Polizei next time. (I'm not saying they'll get it, but they seem to believe it.)
09:57 April 21, 2011 by MrBowlocks
In reply to Freechoice (See above), you ask 'why do have to dance at Easter?' I say 'Why do you have to have to ruin my weekend with your received opinion fairytales when I just want to dance, and anyway why would your God give a toss?' The answer is clear. He wouldn't. On the other hand, it's a nice little earner for State and Church.
14:30 April 21, 2011 by PhoenixW2
Flashmobs are so chavvy. It's memememe look at me!! Look at me, I'm so clever aren't I? ...

14:37 April 21, 2011 by Naldo77
I take this opportunity to remind everyone of Mark Twain's observation that the basic principle upon which christianity was founded is that there is nothing so much in need of reforming as other people's habits.
23:26 April 21, 2011 by Redfeather
Germany, 97% was the Israelite tribe of Dan. Jewish and Ishmaelite, most are not. Sorry to hear the news.
09:04 April 22, 2011 by 247redeemed
The sad part of this whole controversy is the mistaken notion that christians don't dance. Jesus was a Party-wine-drinking-funloving man! All Chrisitans should be dancing on Easter for JOY that their God was resurrected!

Dance, people dance!
18:30 April 22, 2011 by Roxt
Wait, I'm stuck on the statement that Americans give each other expensive gifts for Easter. I mean, I remember getting an easter basket with jelly beans and maybe a chocolate bunny when I was a kid, but I've never heard of people exchanging expensive gifts for easter. Weird. So, what was this topic about? Oh right, people not being allowed to dance on "your" holiday. I don't understand that as much as I don't understand towns practically shutting down on sunday. I can understand stores having different hours, just like they do on Friday and Saturday. I consider sunday part of the weekend, but am I right that stores are not allowed to be open on sunday? That's just ridiculous. It's the same in the states as well. At least in the bible belt of the deep south. (No, not everyone is a bible banger in the south) I'm used to liquor stores being closed on sunday, but here it's like a ghost town! Why should I not be able to buy milk on sunday because of your violent, gory, genocidal, infanticidal, raping, enslaving, fear imposing, no mind of your own make-believe story?

There should not be any laws in place based on some religion. They should be based on morality which boils down to common sense.

If you want to dance your little hearts out, go right ahead!

Oh, and to someone who commented "do you see people dancing on Jewish Holocaust day?"

The difference is that only one of those events actually happened, and in recent history.
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