German Unity Day is annually held on October 3rd to mark the anniversary of the nation’s unification. It remembers when the Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic Republic of Germany united to create one single, federal Germany on October 3rd, 1990. Many people have a day off work and big public celebrations are organized. These include: speeches by politicians and other leaders, concerts, communal meals, food and culture presentations from Germany’s regions, fireworks.
The celebrations’ atmosphere is festive, welcoming and safe. Each year a different city hosts the national celebrations. Many mosques in Germany are open to the general public on October 3rd. This is an initiative to stimulate contact between Muslims and non-Muslims and to emphasize the role that Muslims played in forming modern Germany. German Unity Day is the only national holiday in Germany, as all other holidays are administered by the individual states.
As German Unity Day is a public holiday in Germany post offices, banks and many businesses are closed. Nearly all stores are closed, although a few may be open in some city areas. Bakeries, petrol stations and stores at railway stations, airports and near highways are often open. Public transport services may run as usual, at a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or intends to travel. There may be some disruption to traffic around large celebrations.
The Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin wall were two important symbols of Germany’s division following World War II and Berlin’s and Germany’s unification in 1990.
Germany’s flag is displayed, particularly on public buildings, on German Unity Day. This flag is three units high and five units wide and is divided horizontally into thirds. The top third is jet black, the middle third traffic red and the bottom third is gold. Together these colors represent the freedom of Germany as a whole and each of its people. In the past, the colors represented: the darkness of servitude (black); bloody conflict (red); and the light of freedom (gold).