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FAQGermanyHolidays in Germany

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

A Thursday, 60 days after Easter Sunday, marks Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam). The Catholic Church honours the Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord’s Supper) on this day. Some areas of Germany celebrate Corpus Christi as a significant occasion by observing it as a public holiday and organizing parades that pay tribute to the blessed sacrament, which often takes the form of bread or wafers.

Historical relevance

An explorer, entrepreneur, and colonizer named Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney established Corpus Christi as a frontier trading post in 1838–1839. People referred to the tiny town as Kinney’s Trading Post or Kinney’s Ranch. A year or so later, the City adopted the name Corpus Christi in order to give letters a “more precise postmark.” It became a legal entity on February 16, 1852. A City council and Benjamin F. Neal, who led the city from 1852 until 1855, were chosen by the populace.

What Do Individuals Do in Corpus Christi?

    • It was observed by Catholics and some Protestants in Germany with church services.
    • Special attention is given to the blessing of the sacrament, representing Jesus’ body.
    • The blessed sacrament is often carried outside during or after the liturgy, leading to festive celebrations, especially in small villages.
    • In Cologne, a procession of ships on the Rhine known as the Muelheimer Gottestracht has occurred annually since 1435.
    • Some ships in the parade allow passengers to board.
    • The custom’s origin is unclear, but it’s thought to stem from a story where a thief couldn’t cross the river due to an invisible force, seen as divine punishment.

Fulfillment in 2023 and 2024

2023 Thu 8 Jun Corpus Christi Christian, widely celebrated local holiday
2024 Thu 30 May Corpus Christi Christian, widely celebrated local holiday

German Society on Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi celebrations in Germany vary by region, but they typically involve church services and unique regional traditions. People parade the Eucharist through festively decorated streets during this day’s celebrations. Children may wear white attire, and adults often choose conventional or floral clothing, particularly in the Black Forest. Unique customs include 18 men carrying a massive crucifix in Bamberg and a Rhine ship parade in Cologne, unrelated to the Last Supper but believed to stem from a legend where divine intervention halted a thief from crossing the river.

Corpus Christi: Is it a Public Holiday?

Eight states grant Corpus Christi the status of a public holiday, resulting in a day off for the general public, with most businesses and schools closing.

In conclusion, It is a diverse and culturally rich celebration, with regional variations in traditions and attire. It unites communities through church services and the symbolic procession of the Eucharist. Unique customs, like the massive crucifix in Bamberg and the Rhine ship parade in Cologne, add depth and intrigue to this religious observance.

Also Check:

Public Holidays in Germany

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