Yesterday was All Saints Day, or All Souls Day. How do I know this, as I have never celebrated this day in my entire life?
Because I attempted to haul my glass recycling to the recyclinghof in my town for disposal, only to find the gate to said recyclinghof locked. This after I rather rudely cut off one of my neighbors in the parking garage of my apartment trying to get out (I was a little too tired and driven to deal with the “rechts vor links” rule. My bad), then blocked his way on the narrow thoroughfare in front of my apartment building , as I stopped to load one canister and one large bag of glass into the trunk of the car (he yelled something; all I could muster was an “Ein Moment”; I understood his annoyance, but I had to get this crap done). I rush down the bottom of the hill, to the river, turn right, head to the end of the road…
My rattling of the gate to see if it really was locked brought out some interest from another establishment, so I bid a hasty retreat, rather than set myself up for an awkward conversation I really wasn’t prepared to have, language-wise.
Fine, I will go to SomethingKirchen, then. Loud sounds of broken glass hitting the bottom of the recycling bins set up in front of someone’s house surely would not be a good start to someone’s day, but what can I do?
As I drove by the various stores in my town, I noted that all the parking lots in front of the stores were empty, and all the parking lots in front of the churches were full. THEN I get it. Sure, it’s inconvenient for me, but awesome for the local Catholics. Who knew? And on a work day, it would have been better. But who plans for these things? Seriously…
For those like me who didn’t bother to research the area before moving to it, Bavaria is an extremely conservative, Catholic enclave (except for Munich, of course). This state, and Baden-Wittenberg, will pretty much honor anything the sitting Pope, or any Pope before him, says. All the other states are Lutheran, some other Protestant faith, so their religious holidays, for the most part, will be different.
But that is the rub. Religious holidays. The last time I got off work for a religious holiday was 1990, and that was Easter, which, before then, was given to me all the time, whether I wanted it off, or not. Since then, it was stricken from the work calendar of every place with which I was employed. So, yes, it was a bit of a shock to come here from a comparatively more secular country and see that biblical events are still celebrated on a legislative level.
Sure, it can be inconvenient. Sometimes, I even find Christmas to be inconvenient. But it doesn’t make it bad. There is nothing oppressive about the religion being utilized here. It just takes some getting used to.
So, just a reminder to go to church after I finish helping myself to all the Halloween candy.