Thursday, Germans observe church holiday, Father’s Day

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. 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, the origin of that day of
men dates back to 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, several communities celebrate fests for the whole family.