Having pfun at Pfingsten

Photo: Filmfoto / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Filmfoto / Shutterstock.com
Published May 1, 2012

Pfingsten (Pentecost) is a big deal in Germany. Celebrated in the church 50 days after Easter when the Holy Spirit poured down from heaven on Christ’s disciples, Pfingsten is also a major secular holiday marking the return of warm weather and the growing season.

The German Pentecost involves a long weekend for workers, as much as two weeks off school for kids and countless festivals featuring fun fairs, picnics, dancing, plays, costumed ceremonial rides, candlelit processions and lots of beer.

The festival’s pre-Christian practices include decorating birch trees and dressing up oxen with wreathes and flowers to celebrate the return of livestock to outdoor pastures after wintering over in barns. In fact, the German equivalent of “dressed to the nines” is “dressed up like Pentecost ox!”


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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