Holidays Around the World Part 3: Germany and Australia

We’ve taken a look at the official holidays observed in China, UAE and Brazil as well as Russia, India and Japan. Now, we’re traveling to Germany and Australia for an overview of the major holidays so that you’re better prepared for your business travels to these regions.

iStock_000025407625_LargeGermany –
Last year, business travel spending in Germany was expected to reach an estimate of $56.28 billion. With the number of professionals headed to Germany only increasing, don’t be surprised if business lands you there. Keep the country’s official holiday calendar in mind before you book:

  • What: Easter Monday/ When: April 6th in 2015 (or, the Monday following Easter each year) Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in many Christian cultures. The day is nationally observed in Germany, where public offices, schools and banks are closed.
  • What: Labor Day/ When: May 1st Labor Day was established as an official holiday in 1933 and is associated as a commemoration of the achievements of the labor movement. Also known as May Day, Germans commonly acknowledge this holiday by holding marches and rallies dedicated to workers’ rights. A big Labor Day march takes place in Berlin every year in the Berlin-Kreuzberg section of the city, so expect large crowds if you’re in the area. Not only are many businesses closed on that day, but so are all banks and post offices. While the majority of German shops are closed that day, those in areas with many tourists sometimes remain open.
  • What: Ascension Day & Father’s Day/ When: May 14th Ascension Day in Germany is celebrated 40 days after Easter and will always fall on a Thursday. This national holiday, declared public in 1936, is mostly celebrated by Catholics and commemorates Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Father’s Day is also observed on the same day, with German men often spending the day celebrating with food and drinks. Since this is a national holiday, banks, post offices and nearly all businesses are closed, but some shops may be open. Depending on the area in Germany, public transportation may be delayed or out of service.
  • What: Whit Monday/ When: May 25thAlso known as Whitsuntide and Pentecost, Whit Monday is always observed in Germany 50 days after Easter and 10 days after Ascension. The holiday marks the end of the Easter cycle that began 90 days prior with Ash Wednesday at the start of In Germany, people mark this day with various local and regional customs. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. However, some tourist stores may be open, and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open. Keep in mind that public transport services may run at a reduced schedule on this day, so it’s best to check the schedules ahead of time.
  • What: German Unification Day/ When: October 3rd Unification Day marks the reunification of East and West Germany that took place on October 3rd, 1990. The holiday is celebrated each year with ceremonies and festivals in Berlin and other major cities such as Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. Banks, offices and schools are typically closed in observance.
  • What: St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day/ When: December 26th Stephen’s Day, otherwise known as Boxing Day, is always held the day following Christmas and is a public holiday in Germany. The day is typically spent by attending a special church service and/or by gathering with family and friends. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed in observance of the holiday.

iStock_000006281843_LargeAustralia –
Conducting business in Australia is relatively easy for American companies due to similarities in language, cultural environment, business practices, and customer expectations. One area Australia differs in is the major holidays celebrated throughout the country. Take a look at the national holidays and keep them in mind before you travel to the Land Down Under:

  • What: Australia Day/ When: January 26th Australia Day commemorates the founding of the first European settlement at Sydney’s Port Jackson in 1788. The holiday is observed in all Australian states and territories and serves as a time where all Australians come together to celebrate their country and culture. All schools and post offices are closed. Some public transport services do not operate and others run a reduced service. Stores are often open, but may have reduced hours. Keep in mind that there may be heavy traffic on roads, particularly near major events.
  • What: Easter Monday/ When: April 6th in 2015 (or, the Monday following Easter each year) – Much like Germany, Australia observes the Monday after Easter as a major national holiday. During Easter weekend, many musical festivals and sporting events are held – including the National Folk Festival and Stawell Gift Race – and Easter Monday marks the last day of each event. Keep in mind that there may be congestion on the roads and at airports as people return from vacations and sports and cultural festivals come to an end. On Easter Monday, schools, businesses and government offices are closed, as are many large stores and shopping centers. Public transport services are often restricted and may not run at all.
  • What: ANZAC Day/ When: April 25th ANZAC Day began in commemoration of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in World War I. Today, the day is marked to remember and honor Australian soldiers who have served in times of war. Cities and towns across the country hold memorial services, parades, marches and reunions of past and current military personnel. The largest gatherings are held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
  • What: Queen’s Birthday/ When: June 8th (celebrated September 28th in Western Australia) – Australia celebrates the Queen’s Birthday because it is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, with the monarch of the United Kingdom considered head of state. In all states and territories except Western Australia, the Queen’s Birthday is celebrated on the second Monday in June. Schools, post offices, and other organizations are closed and any stores that are open typically have limited hours. Expect congestion on roads as many people use the long weekend to take trips. Western Australia typically celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on the last Monday of September or on the first Monday of October. In 2015, the holiday falls on Monday, September 28th.
  • What: Boxing Day/ When: December 26th (observed on Monday, December 28th in 2015) – Like Germany, Australia celebrates Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). However, if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday (as it does in 2015), the nation observes it the following Monday. This year, instead of having to go into the office on Monday the 28th, folks will have the day off in commemoration of Boxing Day.

Timely Travel Tip: Australia is home to the 2015 Cricket World Cup, February 14th – March 28th. Matches are being held in major Australian cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra – so expect these locations to be extremely busy with tourists. If you’re planning a trip Down Under, we recommend traveling outside of these dates if possible to avoid peak hotel rates, high airfares, and traffic. Check out the full Cricket World Cup schedule to be sure your trip doesn’t coincide with the busy event.

Safe Travels!