today is yet another holiday here in germany. our friends are off work for the day, so we asked them what the holiday was for. none of them knew... so i did a bit of digging and figured it out. :)
it's Fronleichnam which is the thursday that falls 60 days after easter. the celebration is to honor the eucharist (the lord's supper and the holy communion for those that aren't familiar with eucharist.)
there will be processions through towns across germany today- the processions are at times accompanied by bands or choirs and they go through town to the small chapels and altars. the chapels/altars are decorated with birch branches, carpets of flowers and candles. many houses are also decorated with flags and birch branches as the birch branches are believed to bless the homes against fire, thunderstorms and lightening. included in the processions are the children who received their first communion this year!
there is a special celebration on the rhine river in cologne (Köln) called MuelheimerGottestracht which is a procession of ships- apparently the story goes that 'a thief wanted to cross the river, but an unseen force prevented the boat from crossing the river... seen as god's way of punishing the thief for his sins.' this particular celebration has happened each year since 1435!
I'll work on getting some photos today so you can see what the celebration is all about! happy hol(y)day!