Today, on the Wednesday before ๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป- or ๐—˜๐˜„๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด (Sunday of the Dead), it is ๐—•๐˜‚รŸ- ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด in Germany. It is the Day of Prayer and Repentance.

While it sounds very Christian, the custom actually came from Ancient Rome. During hard times and distress, people were asked to repent for their sins, to pray, and to fast in order to soothe the gods.

Christianity adopted the custom and days of prayer and repentance could be announced by church or government any time it was necessary.

The first official ๐—•๐˜‚รŸ- ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด took place in 1532 in StraรŸburg due to the invasion of Europe by the Ottomans.

๐—•๐˜‚รŸ- ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ด was a public holiday from 1981 until 1995 when it lost its status to pay for the new nursing care insurance. While it is a church holiday in all of Germany, it is a public holiday in Saxony and in Bavaria kids don't have school.

Read more about it here: