Frankfurt Forest Day
A unique event in Frankfurt, Forest Day (Wäldchestag) sees locals of all ages gather together in the city's forest to celebrate their love for their hometown. Commonly taking place on the Tuesday after Whit Sunday, June 5, Frankfurt’s Forest Day is seen as the culmination of Pentecost and has been celebrated as an unofficial national holiday for centuries.
Frankfurt celebrates Forest Day
Traditionally accompanied by a funfair (not to be confused with an amusement park!) that is set up in the forest, this year’s Forest Day will see 141 booths set up, including game stands, amusement shops, shooting stalls and more. A local favourite, the fair also offers rides, such as a Ferris wheel, a drop tower, spinning swings and mini roller-coaster.
Image credit: visitfrankfurt © Holger Ullmann
Although the funfair is actually open for four days, the Tuesday after Whit Monday is usually the busiest as locals leave work by midday and head to the forest for an afternoon of fun and games. The Wäldchestag is a significant custom in Frankfurt as it is said to highlight the sense of solidarity and unison citizens feel with the city.
The history behind Frankfurt’s Wäldchestag
Although the exact history behind the city’s forest day is a bit muddled, there are two possibilities which have been linked to the celebration:
One is that Pentecost was the time tradespeople usually staged large festive processions to showcase their crafts, because until 1729 the Free Imperial city’s administrative year ran from May 1 to April 30. The start of a new administrative year also marked the beginning of the guild leader’s period of office, another reason for more celebrations.
The other is that the holiday may originate from the custom of farmers letting cattle outside to graze for the first time after Pentecost. Farmhands and maidservants would also venture outside during this time to “eat, drink and be merry”, marking a moment of celebration.
Image credit: © Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main, Fotograf: Holger Ullmann
How to get to Frankfurt’s Wäldchestag
You can find more information to help you plan your visit on the Frankfurt Tourism's Wäldchestag website.
Thumb image credit: visitfrankfurt © Holger Ullmann