In 1816, King Frederick William III of Prussia made his cabinet pass a decree that stated all Lutheran churches in the areas under Prussian rule had to observe the last Sunday before Advent as a "general celebration in memorial of the deceased". Other churches outside of Prussia followed, eventually, as well.
Totensonntag is a protected holiday in all German states. The holiday laws of all federal states, with the exception of Hamburg, have special provisions, classifying Totensonntag either as a memorial day or a "silent day" which implies special restrictions. Depending on the state, music may not be played in public venues or only at certain hours, and dancing is forbidden as well (German: Tanzverbot).
- RGG, 3. Aufl.; Band VI Spalte 957
- "Totenfest." http://www.ucc.org/assets/pdfs/totenfest.pdf, accessed 2013-11-20
- "§ 2(1)III Gesetz über Sonntage, Feiertage, Gedenktage und Trauertage vom 16. Oktober 1953" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich (2005). Das Kirchenjahr. Feste, Gedenk- und Feiertage in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Beck’sche Reihe (in German) 447 (Fourth ed.). München: Beck. ISBN 3-406-47585-X.