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13. Cohabitation and religion

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Celebrations and holidays

Most employees do not work on public holidays, and schools, shops and offices are closed. Germany has numerous Christian and secular holidays. Jesus Christ's birth is celebrated at Christmas. At Easter, people commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday. Two days later they celebrate his resurrection. In Saxony-Anhalt and several other federal states, Reformation Day on 31 October is also a public holiday. On this day, people celebrate the reformation of the church.

On 01 May is Labour Day. The German national holiday is the "Day of German Unity" on 03 October. This holiday reminds on the reunification of the two separated German states.

Many local festivals are also held in Dessau-Roßlau. Important festivals are, for example, the Leopoldsfest in the inner city and Heimat- und Schifferfest (Skippers' Festival ) in Roßlau. The Leopold Festival in the city centre of Dessau reminds of Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau. Events of this festival are the military-historical camp, the historical market and the fairground with many rides. The Home and Skippers' Festival is held in Roßlau. This festival includes, for example, a parade, a Middle Ages market and several dancing and music events. Information on further festivals and city quarter parties can be found on the tourism portal of the Tourismusportal der Stadt Dessau-Roßlau Tourismusportal der Stadt Dessau-Roßlau (Municipality of Dessau-Roßlau).

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Social manners

Social manners

In Germany, people like to greet each other by saying "Hello" or, more polite, "Guten Tag" (Good Day). For farewell, one says "Auf Wiedersehen" (Good bye) or "Tschüss". It is also polite to say "bitte" (please), when you like to get something, and when you have got it, to say "danke" (thank you).

When you meet an individual person or a small group, you shake hands with all of them. When doing so, look into the other's eyes for a moment. Men and women shake hands too. It is also common among friends to embrace. If you meet a person that is unknown to you, introduce yourselves by your names.

Punctuality is highly esteemed in Germany. When you have recognized that you will be late for more than five minutes, it is polite to make a short phone call and inform the others. Unpunctuality is considered a lack of respect, because the other person spends his or her time for this meeting. It is also considered impolite when someone listens to loud music or talks noisily, for example in a train or in shopping malls. Before you enter a room, e.g. of an office, knock at the door and wait until you are called in. It is assumed respectful to hold the door open when someone enters the room after you. Waste is not thrown to the ground but disposed of in waste bins. It is impolite to spit on the ground. Please attentively watch the social manners practised in Germany. Do not hesitate and ask when something is unclear to you, and observe the social manners common in Germany.



In Germany, everybody can freely choose his/her religion, or decide not to follow any religious faith. This right is one of the most important basic rights of the German Constitution. A little more than a third of the people in Germany do not belong to any religious community. Slightly more than half of the people are Christians, about half of which are members of the Catholic church and the other half of the Protestant church.

The third largest religious community are the approximately 4 million Muslims. About 200,000 people profess the Jewish faith. Furthermore a large number of Buddhists, Hindus, Yazidi, Sikhs and Bahai live in Germany.

In Dessau-Roßlau, there are several evangelische (Protestant communities), two katholische (Catholic ), a jüdische (Jewish), two muslimische (Muslim) and several freikirchliche Gemeinden (free-church communities).

In most schools in Germany, lessons in Religion or Ethics are held. In the Ethics lessons, students learn about values, philosophy and the different religions and other related topics.