Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Day is also Father's Day

It is always a facsination to watch how Father's Day is celebrated here in Germany. But let's make it clear, it is also the Ascension Day.
How do they celebrate it? Very different from mother's day.
The kids dont go around with secrets before the day itself. Unlike mother's day, hey dont create any crafts in the kindergarten nor in the school. In fact, it is always a surprise to them when I aske them if they have something for papa for father's day. Their response, 'when is father's day?'
And it is really a wonder that they dont feel the festive air. The day before father's day; people pile the supermarkets. Most of them men, with their cases of beer and/or wine, chips and barbecue items. Then you would see groups of men pushing or pulling their small wagons full of the same 'important' items to a beer tent in the woods or to friend's house. Of course, one would not miss the beer tents, beer garden and show stages sprouting out in some usually vacated areas or parking spaces. And that happens before father's day.
When father's day comes, there would be parties everywhere. The men would be out there having fun.
But not with our family. We are more subdued :D
I would usually ask the kids to draw something for their papa or when we have time, we would buy him something small but special; of course, we would buy something for opa, too. In the morning of father's day, we would presents those items to him. He could stay longer in bed while we'd prepare a special breakfast. (This is special as he usually prepares our breakfast!). Then, we would visit the opa and bring him his gift. This time, we cooked lunch for him and the girls' joined him.

Wikipedia states:
In Germany Father's Day is celebrated differently from other parts of the world. There are two terms and/or events of an older origin that while similar in name, have entirely different meanings. Vatertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost, which could be Saumagen, Liverwurst, Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), vegetables, eggs, etc. Many men will use this holiday to get very drunk, to the point of having gangs of drunk people roaming the streets, causing much embarrasement to the German people who don't participate, and giving the holiday a very bad name in Germany. Police and emergency services are in high alert during the day, and some left-wing and feminist groups have asked for the banning of the holiday.
Some parts of Germany (such as Bavaria and the northern part of Germany) call this particular day "Vatertag", which is the literal equivalent to Father's Day.


Anonymous said...

Maybe two separate days would solve it - Father's Day for actual fathers and Getting Drunk Day for those who choose to do it:)

Vlado&Toni said...

i know what you mean, people take for granted father's day, even at our work --- probably because most of the teacher themselves are moms :D biased kumbaga.. they say during father's day the men just get drunk anyway! well of course not everyone including your hubby and father in law :D

haze said...

That is so sweet of you too prepare something special for Opa. It's always nice to celebrate this occasion as sometimes it is taken for granted because of busy life!