October 3 is Germany's Day of National Unity, or Tag der Deutschen Einheit, celebrating the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 after over 40 years of division following World War II. Berlin became a single city once again, the German Democratic Republic threw off its status as a Soviet satellite state, and the country as a whole re-realized the 19th-century achievement of a unified Germany. In a nation with a checkered 20th-century history, to say the least, the day is one to focus on recent positive developments: divides bridged, economic growth, and some national healing.
This year, the day is marked by debate in the press about Germany's role in the E.U., and calls for European solidarity. But Germans are observing traditional festivities, as well. Here's a small selection of photos showing some of the fun.
Traditional costumes and dancing! Here's Angela Merkel watching the fun:
A flag and tent-filled view of Munich's Odenosplatz, where the festival began on Tuesday:
What's a good festival without some ... vegetables? Here's the Minister-President of the state of Bavaria reaching for a tomato as part of the festivities at the Bavarian Department of Agriculture. "We can be proud of what Germany has accomplished in the last 22 years," the wire news agency DAPD reported him as declaring.
What a goof, that Horst Seehofer guy. Maybe Bavarians really do have more fun. Seehofer is a member of Germany's Christian Social Union party, and here he is with Free Democratic Party politician Thomas Hacker, putting his face into a poster. The poster says "Strong students. Strong economy. The liberal education offensive," and is labeled as an FDP proposal. The FDP is the junior partner in the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union's governing coalition.
What's a good celebration of German national unity without some pretzels and beer?
Children in traditional Bavarian garb:
Finally, a photo from the inside of a mosque. Mosques in Berlin have opened their doors to visitors as a way of marking the holiday--a lovely idea in a country still marked by much tension between ethnic Germans and Muslim immigrants, and where nationalism remains a very sensitive subject.
All above photos credited to the DAPD news agency and AP, which is distributing the dapd stills.
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Heather Horn is a former senior associate editor at The Atlantic.