BFoot and Prayer Day is on the Wednesday before Eternal Sunday, i.e. the last Sunday in the church year. If you can remember it better: The Day of Repentance and Prayer is always eleven days before the first Advent or on the first Wednesday after the day of national mourning. This year, the Day of Repentance and Prayer falls on November 16, 2022.
The Day of Repentance and Prayer is the last holiday in the church year. The day serves as a reflection for evangelical Christians, but also for reorientation. Accordingly, one looks at the end of the year in the rear-view mirror on this holiday. According to the EKD, the focus is on “reflection, critical life assessment and reorientation”. “Failure and guilt, omissions and wrong decisions” are to be entrusted to God in prayer on this day. In addition to this rather private perspective, the Day of Repentance and Prayer in the Protestant Church also has a socio-political significance. It serves to “think about social errors”.
For a long time, the evangelical church celebrated the day on different dates, only at the end of the 19th century was a specific day established.
Many religions know penance and atonement. In Judaism there are ten days of penance. They begin on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and end on Yom Kippur.
In Bavaria, only the students are free
The Day of Repentance and Prayer is an explicitly Protestant holiday. However, it is only a day off in Saxony.
A special rule applies in Bavaria: There are no public holidays there, the shops are open – only schoolchildren do not have to go to school. For teachers, the day is a lesson-free day, but not off-duty. For example, they attend training courses. In Bavaria, the Day of Repentance and Prayer is a quiet day with a ban on dancing.
Evangelical workers may take the day off for religious reasons – for example, to attend a church service – without deducting a vacation day. But they don’t get paid either.
Why the Day of Repentance and Prayer was abolished as a non-working holiday
The Day of Repentance and Prayer was a public holiday throughout Germany from 1990. This was removed in 1995 to relieve employers, who are now obliged to pay contributions to long-term care insurance. Because the Day of Repentance and Prayer is non-working in Saxony, employees there also have to pay a higher contribution to compulsory nursing care insurance.