Frankfurt party organizers face hefty fine for flouting Easter dancing ban

It is one of Germany's more surprising laws that has led to protests throughout the years.

Frankfurt party organizers face hefty fine for flouting Easter dancing ban
There are restrictions on dancing in Germany during Easter. Photo: Depositphotos/pitangacherry

With restrictions varying across the country's 16 states, the dancing ban, or 'Tanzverbot', effectively bars public dancing on the Christian holiday. In some states, including Hesse, the ban lasts for more than one day.

Now authorities in Frankfurt, the biggest city in Hesse, have vowed to crack down on anyone who ignores the ban that’s in place from Thursday to Saturday, reported regional newspaper the Frankfurter Rundschau (FR).

According to the law in Hesse, a fine of up to €1000 can be handed out to anyone who puts on a public dance event, the spokesman for the Ordnungsamt, Ralph Rohr, told the FR.

One of the city’s mayors, Uwe Becker, of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), has called for residents to show respect for those who observe the religious Easter holiday, and not take part in any dancing.

“Even those who do not belong to a religion themselves should show respect for the feelings of others,” said the CDU politician who is head of the church department in Frankfurt.

The law in Hesse states that dancing in public is forbidden from 4am on Maundy Thursday until midnight on Holy Saturday, as well as on Sundays and public holidays from 4am until 12 noon.

According to Rohr, city police will conduct their usual checks during this time.

“If complaints are received, police will investigate them,” said the Ordnungsamt spokesman.

In response to the FR's question as to whether dancing would be stopped, Rohr said: “We will end what is not allowed.” Clubs will be contacted by authorities and warned in advance.

SEE ALSO: 10 ways to celebrate Easter in Germany like a local

Ban is contentious

As well as dancing, other activities are banned at Easter time, such as sporting events and gambling. The ban on dancing has led to protests across Germany throughout the years.

Centre-left Social Democrats politician Kevin Kühnert recently said the ban should be abolished. He said people should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to celebrate or not.  He told the Redaktionsnetzwerk that “anyone who wants to go to a disco that day should be able to do so.”

A protester at a demo in Stuttgart in 2015 holds placards that read: 'We dance when we want!' and 'Release the dance!' Photo: DPA

Not surprisingly, club capital Berlin is the most liberal state when it comes to upholding the silent public holiday, with the 'Tanzverbot' only in place from 4am to 9pm on Good Friday.

In the southern state of Bavaria, which is largely Catholic, the ban runs for 70 hours: from 2 am on Maundy Thursday until midnight on Holy Saturday. Penalties vary, but people who flout the law, which tends to be event organizers or club owners, risk fines of up to €1,500.

'Important gesture'

Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, Becker urged all citizens to comply with the legal regulation on Good Friday.

For many Christians it is deemed inappropriate to dance or celebrate during Holy Week – the seven days leading up to Easter Sunday. Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, is of particular importance. For Catholics, the day is traditionally meant for fasting and abstinence.

Becker said that not taking part in “loud and exuberant celebrations” is “an important gesture” that shows respect to “fellow human beings”.

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Vaccination centres in some German states ‘to close over Easter’

Vaccination centres in some parts of Germany will be closed over the Easter long weekend, prompting anger as the country struggles with a sluggish rollout.

Vaccination centres in some German states 'to close over Easter'
People outside a vaccination centre in Braunschweig on March 24th. Photo: DPA

According to a survey by German daily Bild, vaccination centres in the state of Brandenburg, which is next to Berlin, will not be open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

Thuringia, also initially said vaccines were not to take place over the holidays, except on Saturday at a vaccination centre in Erfurt.

However, the state later told Bild that vaccinations would be closed on Easter Sunday due to a lack of supplies but would be open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday.

In other federal states, including Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, closures are possible, according to the state governments – it depends on how much vaccine doses are available.

In Bremen, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, however, jabs will continue.

In Saarland, vaccinations are generally not carried out on Sundays.

While more than 300,000 people get their shots on weekdays, on Saturdays and Sundays there are typically fewer than 150,000 injections carried out per day.

Under 138,000 doses were administered across German states on Sunday, slightly less than the week before.

The news of some centres shutting over the Easter weekend prompted outrage on social media.

“Couldn’t make it up,” said Ragnar Weilandt on Twitter.

Why is it taking so long to vaccinate?

Germany has come under fire for its slow rollout of jabs, lagging far behind the pace of other countries including the USA, Israel and the UK.

Just under 11 percent of the German population have received the first vaccination dose, while Israel has already jabbed 60 percent of people.

And it’s not just an EU-wide shortage of vaccine supplies causing the snail pace – many people consider bureaucracy, different state procedures and the inflexible vaccination prioritisation list to be causing problems.

READ ALSO: When will I be in line for a Covid-19 vaccination?

Medical staff are not allowed to stray from the priority list, prompting fears that vaccine doses are being left unused.

Germany also suffered a setback on the speed of the campaign after suspending the AstraZeneca vaccine to investigate a possible connection to blood clots.

READ ALSO: How badly did the AstraZeneca suspension hit Germany’s rollout