Today, on the Wednesday before 𝗧𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗻- or 𝗘𝘄𝗶𝗴𝗸𝗲𝗶𝘁𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗴 (Sunday of the Dead), it is 𝗕𝘂ß- 𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗮𝗴 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 𝗕𝘂ß- 𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗮𝗴 took place in 1532 in Straßburg due to the invasion of Europe by the Ottomans.
𝗕𝘂ß- 𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗮𝗴 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: https://morethanbeerandschnitzel.com/day-of-prayer-and.../