Reformation Day is memorialized on October 31 every year. Reformation Day started in the 15th century when a German monk, aggrieved by the activities of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences as penance, nailed his arguments, named “The 95 Theses” to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church.
History of Reformation Day
While the rest of the world celebrates a spooky holiday, the vast majority of the Christian community celebrates Reformation Day. Martin Luther’s study of the scripture led him to a path he recognized as religious truth and salvation. He disagreed with the church’s teachings of the Bible, with the priests serving as intermediaries between the Bible and the laity. He also strongly disagreed with the sale of indulgences whose proceeds were used to rebuild the church.
Many opposed the movements of the church, but Martin Luther brought it to light and sought reformation within the church. His theses gave grounds for people to question the church; it was a time of large religious and social change. Luther preached reformation, but his thesis was warped for political, social, and economic reasons by various emerging leaders of the movement. This brought about a fractionalization in the Catholic Church and the emergence of the Protestant Reformation under the Protestant Church.
Reformation Day is recognized by a number of communities around the world, especially the Protestants. It is an official holiday in most German states and seeks to celebrate the significant religious reforms brought on by “The 95 Theses.” Reformation Day stands by truth and the Bible as the sole source of religious authority.
Reformation Day timeline
Reformation Day becomes a German holiday and an international holiday celebrated all around the world.
The holiday is celebrated amid increasing Germanophobia brought on by the First World War.
To celebrate Reformation Day, Pope Francis conducts an ecumenical service to bring together Catholics and Protestants.
It becomes a public holiday in all of Germany as states that usually do not celebrate pass legislation for it to be celebrated annually on the same day.
Reformation Day FAQs
What are indulgences?
The church used indulgences to reduce the punishment one had to go through for sins to encourage confessions. The Catholic Church issued them to grant the pardon of sins. The church previously sold them to worshippers, depending on their social class, and used the proceeds for charitable activities and renovation of church facilities.
Are indulgences still sold?
With the Reformation, the church outlawed the sale of indulgences. But one can earn one with charitable contributions, other good acts, or simply going for a confession as penance.
What do “The 95 Theses” say?
“The 95 Theses” stand for the belief that true salvation is not by one’s deeds but through faith alone. It also sought change and unity within the church and rid it of corrupt practices and centralization of the Bible.
How To Observe Reformation Day
Read the Bible
Celebrate Reformation Day by reading the Bible in any language you understand. Reformation Day paved the way for the Bible to be translated into various local dialects to allow the laity to understand the revelation properly.
Learn more about the reformation
You can celebrate Reformation Day by reading about its history, pioneers, founder, and main purpose. Fully understanding why this day exists and why it’s worth celebrating will make it even more interesting to you.
Share the holiday online
Not many people are aware of this holiday because it coincides with Halloween, which often overshadows it. Use your social media platforms to educate people on this day and why it is celebrated in most places.
5 Important Facts About Martin Luther
Martin Luther dedicated 10 years to translate the Bible from Latin to German.
Pioneered clerical marriage
He set the ground for Protestant clergy to marry with his marriage to Katharina von Bora.
The hymn master
He contributed to the church’s hymn collection by composing over 30 hymns in German.
Excommunicated for life
Even with his vast contributions, he died with Pope Leo X’s excommunication still in effect.
Lutheran calendar of Saints
Luther is honored by Protestants on many occasions and publicly declared holidays.
Why We Love Reformation Day
It is an opportunity to celebrate a common faith
Reformation Day brings all Christians from different backgrounds together to celebrate and acknowledge one common faith and purpose. It gives a sense of belonging, unity, and community. The Reformation existed to promote the free expression of religion and also decentralizing church institutions.
It teaches us that forgiveness is for all and not to be bought
Before the Reformation, the church sold tickets of indulgences from sins for money. Indulgences were seen as a means for one’s sins to be forgiven. This promoted the notion that heaven is for the rich. We love Reformation Day because it stands for the belief that forgiveness is for all and does not require monetary payments.
It celebrates the opportunity for everyone to read and understand the Bible
The Bible was in Latin, a language not understood by the majority of the local people, and the priests gave religious services in Latin. No one understood what the priests said or if it was true. After the Reformation, the Bible was written in the common language of the people, allowing everyone to read and understand it.
Reformation Day dates