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Germany: processions and prayers in the country. “Tanzverbot”, ban on dancing, in force in all Länder

The ecumenical Good Friday procession across the streets of Berlin, led by Evangelical bishop Markus Dröge and by catholic bishop Matthias Heinrich, will start today at 11am. Reflection at each station will be facilitated by representatives of several associations, including Amnesty International, Diakonie, and Caritas. A Syrian refugee, Jalal Aldebes, will give his witness at the last station. The so-called “tanzverbot”, ban on dancing, will remain in force in all German Länder today. Indeed, on the day of Jesus’ death, Christians stop to relive His suffering through fasting, abstinence and the suspension of leisure and sports activities. In three out of sixteen Länder, the “Days of Silence” rule, which is also observed on other days of the year, including for the commemoration of the dead, will only apply from 2pm to 2am tonight. In Bremen, the ban will be enforced from 6am to 9pm, but the regional parliament has already decided to repeal it as from 2018. Good Friday is the most important celebration of the year for the Evangelical Church. The Ekd website reads: “On this day, people should refrain from having fun, from having exquisite meals, and from dancing. They should go to Church instead, to participate in the second part of the Sacred Triduum”. The German dioceses are also rediscovering the beauty of prayer in front of the holy tomb: a dedicated space is set up in the church, with a shroud, flowers, and candles, to remember the place of Christ’s burial.

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