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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Germany Series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind German holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 20 - Day of Repentance and Prayer.
In this lesson, we will discuss how people celebrate the Day of Repentance and Prayer or “Buss- und Bettag” in German. The Day of Repentance and Prayer is a holiday of the Evangelical Church and is a day off in a few German states. The Day of Remembrance, which is also known as The Sunday of the Dead or “Totensonntag,” takes place every year 11 days before the first Advent Sunday.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
In 1532, the Day of Repentance and Prayer was celebrated for the first time in Strasbourg, which was then a part of Germany. But what does the word "repentance" or “Buße” in German, actually mean?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
On this day, numerous parishes hold evening services and special prayer services, in which the names of the dead, who died in the past church year, are read out, in order to remember them. Many believers visit cemeteries to decorate the graves of the deceased in order to remember loved ones who passed away.
The day is dedicated to the memory of those who have passed away and at the same time refers to the resurrection of the dead, thereby emphasizing eternal life. Thus, rather than focusing on the grief of loss, people engage in reflection and re-orientation in life and focus instead on social injustice or environmental problems.
The last Sunday in the Catholic Church is equivalent to the Day of Repentance and Prayer and is called Feast of Christ the King or Solemnity of Christ the King, the King of the Universe, or Sunday of Christ the King. In German it is often called “Christkönigsfest”. These days of reflection and pause have existed in the Catholic Church for many centuries.
The Protestant Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin is a sight worth seeing, but according to legend, its bells created uproar amongst the wolves of the Zoological Garden or “Zoologischer Garten”. Due to the loud ringing of the Church bells, the wolves began to howl so loudly that the police had to intervene. The police tried to pacify the restless animals, but were unsuccessful.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
The Day of Repentance and Prayer was celebrated for the first time in 1532 in Strasbourg, which was then part of Germany. What does the word "repentance" or Buße actually mean?
The word "Repentance" or Buße in this context means “return to God.” This word denotes a readiness to move forward rather than regret, reparation, or penance for past deeds.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson?
Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate the Day of Repentance and Prayer in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com. Until next time!