This weekend, it seems Germany has taken a page from the movie Footloose as it continues to uphold one of its most ancient traditions. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this custom places a ban on dancing for the length of Easter weekend. While this law seems out of place in today’s multicultural society where religious impositions are not generally the state’s area of jurisdiction, the dancing ban known as “Tanzverbot” has remained government-enforced.
In most of the 16 German states, it is illegal to engage in dancing at public parties from Thursday until the end of Easter Sunday. This law does not prohibit dancing in one’s own private residence, however. These bans were certainly placed in respect of Christian secular holidays, but the changing tide in Germany has many of its citizens calling for lighter restrictions. Germany isn’t the first country to restrict dancing, as Japan recently lifted its own outlaw after being in place for over 50 years.
Peter James, the chairman of Club Kollektiv in Stuttgart, recently gave a comment to the Guardian about this outdated ruling: “The ban does represent a big constraint. But apart from that, just on a personal level, I don’t want to be told how I organize my days. We live in a multicultural society, and this is clearly a state imposition, and anyway lifting the dance ban doesn’t mean introducing a dance enforcement.”