Experiencing Reunification Day in Germany

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018

My eyes completely lit up with joy when my colleague informed me that I would not have work because of German Reunification day. I could not believe that I would be experiencing a great German holiday during my stay. For those of you that are unaware on what German Reunification day is there are three main points:
  1. It celebrates the anniversary of German Reunification in 1990.
  2. This day was chosen over the fall of the Berlin wall which divided the East and West since there was large-scale Nazi regime.
  3. This holiday is celebrated on October 3rd.
Given these facts, I imagined an American “4th of July-esque” celebration. I pictured beautiful fireworks and maybe an excess of wurst. However, right before I continued my day dream my colleague informed me that there would be nothing extraordinary on that day.

I did not believe him for a second. So, I went to Brandenburg gate, a symbolic monument for peace and unity, with my fourth of July expectations. Tourists were seen taking pictures in front of this lovely monument. But that was it. No fireworks. No food. No balloons.
I later found out that Germany often fears being nationalistic. Germany’s dark past in nationalism continues to haunt the present day. It all made so much sense. So, although many Germans are happy for Reunification Day, it is silently celebrated. No American “4th of July-esque” celebration celebration here.

Kimberly Cross
Centre international de formation européenne
Berlin, Germany | fall 2018