Germans observe holiday Thursday

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

Germans observe a religious holiday Thursday. It’s “Christi Himmelfahrt” or Ascension Day. The Bible says Christ’s ascent into heaven took place on the 40th day after Easter. That’s 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. 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 took along a decorated hand-cart filled with beer cases or kegs to quench their thirst. The 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.

Today, the official holiday is considered an additional day when families can do something together. They go on bike trips, hikes or have barbecues.