Easter dancing ban: Germany's outdated religious laws

Laws created by Christian politicians of centuries past to strictly uphold Catholic and Protestant moral values - you would think that such rules have no place in a modern, democratic and multicultural country such as Germany.

Well, you’d be wrong! Germany does not have an official state religion and is usually, by convention, secular. But laws which came from old religious customs and habits still exist today.

Did you know it is illegal to dance during Easter? And if you played live music in a room selling drinks and food, you could be fined over one thousand euros!

And if you live in one of Germany’s bigger cities, the deference to religion could seem crazy - you don’t know many people who are religious these days. Living in places like Berlin, where 60% are non-believers, can distort your view.

In the rest of the country, it's the other way round: over 60% are state-registered, bonafide Christians.

These days, the state helps collect funds for the churches though the tax system and enforces the closure of shops on the Lord’s day, Sunday. Many people want a greater separation of church and state in Germany - but that’s a task which is not as simple as it might seem.

Ben Knight wrote an article in the newspaper The Guardian this week on the Easter dancing ban and he’s joined us to talk about Germany's religious laws.