Germany observes Ascension Day, Father’s Day Thursday

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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

The Bible says Christ’s ascent into heaven took place on the 40th day after Easter. For this reason, Ascension Day is always held on a Thursday.

First, Christians celebrated the festival together with Pentecost. Later, in the fourth century, it was observed as a holiday of its own.

Besides celebrating the church festival, Germans also recognize Father’s Day on Ascension Day. Today, the holiday is an additional day when families enjoy an extra day off and 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, 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. Afterward, they had a drink together.

Since Ascension Day is an official holiday in Germany, several communities celebrate fests for the whole family.

The Hauptstuhl Music Association will present a Father’s Day rock concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the local festgrounds near the forest. Celebrations will continue with a barbecue at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The Reichenbach Music Association will start Father’s Day activities at 10 a.m. at the Alte Mühle in Reichenbach-Steegen and the Singing Association Lyra Drehenthalerhof will have a barbecue at their grill hut at Drehenthalerhof near Otterberg.