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"Silent holiday" dancing ban: Good Friday regulations in NRW

"Silent holiday" dancing ban : Good Friday regulations in NRW

Many people don’t have to work over the long Easter weekend. But the Easter holidays cannot get off to a really wild start: On Good Friday, loud music and parties are not the only things which are taboo. Here we provide all the rules for the "silent holiday" at a glance.

Good Friday is a so-called "silent" holiday which means that this day should be even quieter than other public holidays in Germany. For this reason, additional bans have been laid down by law. We explain which Good Friday bans apply in NRW.

Dancing events

It is forbidden to play music and dance at public events. Entertainment in the form of a performance is strictly prohibited. The "Tanzverbot” (ban on dancing) even applies from 6pm on Maundy Thursday until 6am on Easter Saturday. Furthermore, no private entertainment events may take place outside of your own home. But within your own four walls you can dance and play as much music as you like – as long as it is not too loud. There are no particular penalties for violating the law, only a fine for noise pollution. The RTL television show "Let's Dance" is also affected by the ban and is cancelled on Good Friday.


Sport lovers must hold themselves back on Good Friday - sporting events are also forbidden until 6am on Saturday. This means no football matches, competitions or even horse races can take place. This also includes circuses, folk festivals and other leisure facilities where there are dance performances. Those who want to do their own sports can do so as usual: Fitness studios are allowed to open.


Cinemas are open on Good Friday. However, unlike on other public holidays, the only films that may be shown on Good Friday are those classified as suitable by the Ministry of Culture. The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK), the German organisation for motion picture rating, has drawn up a list of films that are unsuitable for public holidays. Between 2010 and 2015, however, this only affected one percent of feature films.

Horror films such as "Friday the 13th" and "Scream" are prohibited, as are classics such as "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Mad Max". Even the children's films "Heidi" and "Mary Poppins" may not be shown. All film screening is prohibited whilst church services are being held on Good Friday. Functions and meetings are also forbidden during this time.


All radio broadcasts on Good Friday are required "to take into account the serious nature of the silent holidays" and to adapt their programme up to 6am on Easter Saturday.

Easter bread

Bakers and flower shops are allowed to open for a maximum of five hours on Good Friday and Easter Sunday - without obtaining permission in advance. This is regulated by the Shop Opening Act NRW, which was updated in 2013. Before this, the bakeries were only allowed to open on Easter Monday. Anyone violating this regulation risks a fine of up to 5000 euros.

Criticism especially from young people

The dancing ban on silent holidays has long been a topic of debate. On no other public holiday in Germany are the rules as strict as on Good Friday. The ban applies to the whole day in 13 German states, many even from the day before - as in NRW. In Berlin, on the other hand, it only applies from 4am to 9pm on Good Friday and in Bremen only from 6am onwards.

(Original text: GA, Translation: Caroline Kusch)