Germans observe Ascenion Day, celebrate Father’s Day Thursday

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

Thursday is “Christi Himmelfahrt” or Ascension Day. In Germany, it’s a legal holiday with religious roots. The Bible says Christ’s ascent into heaven took place on the 40th day after Easter. That’s why it’s always 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. It is customary for men, young and old, fathers and non-fathers, to meet and do something together. Often they walk to a restaurant or barbecue hut somewhere in the countryside, pulling a decorated hand-cart filled with beer cases or kegs. A lot of times, men go on a day trip by bus to celebrate father’s day.
Partially, origin 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. Afterwards they had a drink together.
Since Ascension Day is an official holiday in Germany, stores, banks and public facilities are closed.