Father's Day in Germany Date in the current year: May 5, 2016

Father's Day in Germany In Germany, Father's Day (Vatertag) coincides with the Feast of Ascension. This holiday is also referred to as Men's Day (Männertag) or Gentlemen's Day (Herrentag). The latter name is used mainly in East Germany.

On this day, groups of men go on hiking tours, primarily for the purpose of getting drunk. They take small carts (Bollerwagen) or wheelbarrows in order to carry beer, whine or whatever alcoholic drinks they chose to consume. Sometimes carts are adorned with birch and lilac branches.

This tradition is most likely connected to processions that has been held in rural areas on Ascension Day since the 18th century. Men were seated in a wooden cart and carried to the main square of the town or village, where the mayor awarded a special prize to the father who had the most children.

By the late 19th century, the celebration had almost lost its religious component, especially in large cities. Groups of males started to organize walking trips with beer and food such as ham. In the 20th century, consumption of alcohol became a major part of the celebration.

In 1934, the Feast of Ascension was declared a public holiday in Germany. As it always falls on Thursday, many people take the following Friday off work and enjoy a long weekend.

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Father's Day in Germany, Vatertag, Feast of Ascension, holidays in Germany