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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 21 - Reformation.
In this lesson, we will discuss how people celebrate Reformation Day or “Reformationstag” in German. On October 31, evangelical Christians throughout Germany commemorate the Reformation led by Martin Luther. In new federal states except for Berlin, it’s a public holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
When and where was the first holy communion of the Evangelical Church celebrated?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
Many evangelical Christians visit a Reformation Day church service, called “Reformationsgottesdienst” on October 31. On this day, many bakeries in the area around Leipzig sell special rolls called “Reformationsbrötchen”, which commemorate Luther. The reformer Martin Luther was born on November 11, 1483 in Eisleben and at the request of his father, started to study law at Erfurt University in 1501. After he was almost struck by lightning during a powerful storm on July 2, 1505, Martin Luther decided to become a monk. In 1505, he joined the monastery of the Augustinian Hermits in Erfurt.
As a monk and theology professor, he spoke out against the prevailing indulgences of the day. It was common for believers to donate a sum of money to the church to be freed from their sins. On October 31 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, often referred to as “Die 95 Thesen”, to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, protesting against various practices of the Catholic Church he viewed as wrong. With that, he sparked the Reformation movement. He was subsequently accused of heresy in Rome and was demanded to recant his teachings. But since he did not comply with this order, Emperor Charles V imposed the Edict of Worms, which forbade people to read Luther's writings or to support him in any form.
With the help of the electoral prince, Friedrich the Wise, Luther was secretly kidnapped on the evening of May 4, 1521 and taken into custody at the Wartburg near Eisenach, where he lived until the March 1, 1522. This is where Luther, living incognito as Junker Jörg, translated the New Testament called “Neue Testament” into German, making it known to a wider audience; with the help of Gutenberg's printing press, the New Testament soon became widely disseminated throughout the population.
The name of the Wartburg comes from the term "Warte", which refers to a watch tower. The castle was founded in 1067 by Ludwig the Springer and was included on the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites in 1999. It’s worth a visit!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
When and where was the first holy communion of the Evangelical Church celebrated?
At the end of September 1521, the first Protestant communion was celebrated in Wittenberg. Today, around 61 percent of Germans are members of the Christian faith.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting? Do you also celebrate Reformation Day in your country? Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com. Until next time!