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!”