An important local holiday that just took place was Whit Monday. I spoke to a worker at a local tourism center and a friendly man at a beer garden about the holiday. The tourism worker gave me a brief historical description of Whit Monday and how it is celebrated in Bavaria. I found out that Whit Monday is a national public holiday, and that it celebrates the second day of Pentecost. This used to be an entire week-long celebration, but now it only lasts a single day. The day before Whit Monday is the end of the Easter period, and is filled with religious ceremonies and services for those who practice Christianity. There are various local traditions associated with the event, many involving the fight against evil spirits who want to rob and cause destruction. Some towns also have parade events with processions of horses.
The man I spoke to at the beer garden did not have nearly as much information about Whit Monday as the tourism worker. He told me that he wasn’t particularly religious, so he never attended any of the Whit Monday events, nor did he really know what their significance was. To him, Whit Monday was just a nice day off from work for him and a day off from school for his kids. The difference between his response and the response of the tourism worker shows that while Germany’s roots are still very much based off of religious traditions, the average layperson is not necessarily religious or a devout follower of the ceremonies. However, I received the impression that the non-religious citizens had no problem with the religious holidays, and even welcome the days off.