Germans celebrate Father’s Day Thursday

by Petra Lessoing
Ramstein Public Affairsby Petra Lessoing

Germans observe the religious holiday “Christi Himmelfahrt,” or Ascension Day Thursday. It is an official holiday throughout Germany, which means stores, public offices and banks will be closed.

The Bible says Christ’s ascent into heaven took place on the 40th day after Easter, which is why it always is on a Thursday. First, Christians celebrated the fest together with Pentecost. Later, in the fourth century, it was observed as a holiday of its own.
Besides celebrating the church fest, Germans also recognize Father’s Day on Ascension Day. Today, the holiday is an additional day when families can do something together. They go on bike trips, hikes or have barbecues.

For years, it was customary for men, young and old, fathers and non-fathers, to meet and have fun together. They met for long walks, and to quench their thirst, they took along a decorated hand-cart filled with beer cases or kegs. Partially, origins of that day of men dates back to the German forefathers, who in spring walked through their land and fields and asked the gods for a fertile year. Afterward, they had a drink together.

Since Ascension Day is an official holiday in Germany, several communities celebrate fests for the whole family. A family fest takes place near the Bismarck tower in Landstuhl, and Father’s Day fests with barbecues will be  celebrated at the fire station in Olsbrücken, the festgrounds near the forest in Hauptstuhl and at the Alte Mühle in Reichenbach-Steegen.