On Reformation Day (31th October), Protestants throughout the world commemorate the Reformation by Martin Luther (1483–1546) and the emergence of the Protestant Church almost 500 years ago. The public impact of the posting of the 95 theses at All Saints' Church of Wittenberg on 31th October 1517 is undisputed. In the theses, the Reformer denounced abuses in the Church like the sale of indulgences.
2017 a national holiday
Elector John George I. of Saxony established 31 October as a Memorial Day in 1667 – 150 years after the Reformation. Following the Reformation anniversaries of 1717 and 1817, Reformation Day became even more established. The memorial day is considered an occasion for Protestant self-contemplation. Luther wanted to renew the Church and bring it back to the spiritual foundation of the message of the Gospel. But because the medieval Church of the Pope refused a reform, this led to the creation of the Evangelical Church, contrary to Luther's original intent.
Reformation Day is a public holiday in the eastern part of Germany, but not in Berlin and not in western Germany. In Thuringia, this day is observed as a public holiday only in the Protestant municipalities. On the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on 31 October 2017, this day will for the first time be a public holiday throughout Germany. Berlin was the last federal state which in October approved this request.
Since 2008, Reformation day starts off each new theme year of the Luther decade, with which the Church and the state prepare the 500th anniversary of the Reformation 2017. Furthermore, the Evangelical Church in Germany hands out the Martin Luther medal to personalities for their merits for Protestantism on Reformation Day.