In the previous years I mostly talked about Halloween, but there is something else that Evangelic or Lutheran Christians (and variations thereof) celebrate today:
The day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the gates of the church in Wittenberg or send them in a letter to Archbishop of Mainz, depending on the version.
This year marks a special occasion, hence the digression from the usual Halloween stuff: It’s the 500th anniversary of this event and all over the country it’s been celebrated as Lutherjahr (Lutheryear) all year long, especially in Wittenberg (where he lived and worked), Eisleben (where he was born and died) and Eisenach (where he translated the bible). For this occasion all German Federal States get a public holiday today and not just the Evangelic ones (which also means that the Catholic ones have two holidays this years as for them All Saint’s Day – „Allerheiligen“ is a public holiday as well…).
There are many things potraying the unusal life of Martin Luther, books, movies, graphic novels, museums of course and even a musical…but that doesn’t change the fact that what he wrote in those theses caused the way religion was used/viewed to change drastically. All those things Catholic priests used to suppress the uneducated people were no longer usable as everyone now understood what was wrong with the system and could later read what actually stood in the bible. I’d really recommend to read up on the whole thing and if you’re nearby, do check out the museums in Wittenberg and Eisenach, they’re pretty good and should be up to modern standards thanks to all the renovations that went on before this years celebration.
What’s Luther to me?
Well, I’m Evangelic, which means everything the belief system I grew up with contains is based on Luthers interpretation and translation. It feels like through this break with the old traditions that Evangelic people are more open minded, which doesn’t mean all Catholics are close minded, but those strict ones are still quite conservative, you can’t deny that…
In my Journey through Germany in 2014 – a part I still owe you – I visited Wittenberg and wandered through the museums I mentioned above. It gave you a different view on the stuff you learn in school and general media. It shows you that Luther wasn’t the driving force behind the Reformation, he was just the pebble that set everything in motion, even if he didn’t want the split itself.
In 2015 my cousin got married on the Wartburg, the castle in Eisenach where Luther translated the bible. The day after the ceremony my Dad and I explored it. We had planned to come here for years, but only managed it then, without Mum. It’s quite an impressive castle that still holds on to lots of history. Not just the bible translation, but also the Sängerkrieg took place here – which I recently read about in an interesting (but slightly flawed) novelization by Robert Löhr(, that I also picked up during our visit back then).
Luther and the Devil
As it’s Halloween I can’t leave you without telling something spooky:
It is said that when he translated the bible Luther was visited by the Devil, who wanted him to stop. To cast him out Luther threw his ink glass at him, but it missed him and shattered on the wall. This stained was said to have stayed there for quite some time.
Though by now it doesn’t exist anymore as „visitors“ took away part of the wall when they came to the Wartburg to see it…(and it’s said to have been artificially prolonged by the GDR regime 😉 )
Other Halloween stuff
Yesterday a guest post of mine was published on the Nornennetz-Blog, it’s a mixture of one of my earlier Halloween posts in German, combined with knowledge I gained from Ed Mooney’s and Ali Isaac’s posts about it.
Tonight one of my old stories from „Your Picture – A Story“ will be re-released through the Nornennetz Halloween-Event as well. Though I didn’t edit the English version accordingly, yet…