Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1528
When is Reformation Day?
Who observes Reformation Day?
This holiday is always celebrated on 31 October.
It commemorates the day in 1517 when a German monk named Martin Luther (1483-1546) strode up to the church in Wittenburg and nailed his 95 'theses' (or propositions) to the church door.
Luther's intention when posting his theses was to highlight the practice of indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church. Indulgences were pardons from sin that could be bought, meaning that those who were rich enough could buy forgiveness for all manner of sins.
Luther had hoped that pinning his protestations would spark wider debate and harden public opinion against the practice.
However, so many people agreed with his ideas that they quickly spread across western Europe, helped by the recent invention of the printing press, leading to the religious revolt known as the Reformation.
The reformation led many Christians to break off from the Roman Catholic Church and establish new, independent churches of their own, such as the Lutheran Church.
In Chile, this holiday is called 'Día Nacional de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes' and was established as a holiday in 2008.
Reformation Day has been a civic holiday in Slovenia since 1992. Despite Slovenia being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, the reformation is celebrated as the protestant movement is seen as a key event in the cultural history of Slovenia, particularly in the areas of political reform and literature.
In Germany the day is called 'Reformationstag' and may also be known as 'Luther’s Theses Day'. It is observed as a regional holiday in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony,Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
In 2017, 31 October will be a public holiday in all of Germany to mark the 500th anniversary of the posting of the theses. Those German states which do not celebrate the Reformation Day as a holiday have passed adequate legislation or made regulations.
October 31 is observed by most Protestant denominations as Reformation Day, and the preceding Sunday is known as Reformation Sunday.