Happy German Unity Day! (October 3)

Is it October 3 already? Let’s see.

  • Are my favourite restaurants and markets closed for a public holiday? Yes.
  • Do the open-air exhibits focus on the historical significance of Germany in 1989 / 1990? Yes.
  • Is the city hosting a festival to celebrate freedom, diversity and democracy tonight? Yes.

All the signs are there, it’s German Unity Day! Here’s a short 3-minute video that sums up the importance of this date. I’ll meet you after the jump.

Did you learn something new? It’s hard to believe that the country was once bitterly divided only 28 years ago. In 1989 I was still a toddler watching Sesame Street and forcing my Mum to cut up my food. So when Germany finally unified I wasn’t old enough to understand the significance of the moment. But as an adult, I’m fortunate to live here and have access to information that fills in the gaps. Thanks to countless monuments, landmarks and remnants of the past, I’ve received an education far beyond the pages of any textbook.

Casual traveller vs Expat

And that’s the point I’d like to make. As an expat, you’re a visitor in someone else’s country. So why don’t you take the time to learn about the history, culture and heritage of the place you’re living? You may surprise yourself with what you learn. Remember, it’s the distinction of being a long term resident that separates us from casual travellers.

Here’s a challenge I’d like you to consider. On the next public holiday talk to locals, participate in traditions and educate yourself about the reasons for the day. For once, don’t rely on Wikipedia! Push yourself out of your comfort zone and join in on the fun. What do you have to lose?

And in an effort to take my own advice, forgive me for keeping this post short. I’m out the door to celebrate!

Want to celebrate German Unity Day?

Are you in Germany? Consider stopping in Berlin and join in on the fun. Make sure to check out the official festival website to plan your visit. Before you go, The Local prepared a list of things you didn’t know about October 3. And finally, follow #nurmiteuch (“nur mit euch” which translates to “only with you”) on social media.

-es