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Why you need to go “German” on this year’s Father’s Day

By Mona B

This week’s fun fact: Father’s Day in German

Father’s Day is coming up so why not take a second, sit back and talk about the origin of Father’s Day.

Recall: The first American Father’s Day observation probably took place on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington when Sonora Dodd first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909 as a “male” celebration of Mother’s Day. We honor our mothers, so why not let our dads have a special day.  Sonora’s Father who was a Civil War Veteran was born in June, the month she picked out for the celebration. Widely practiced since the 20s, Father’s Day only became “official” in 1974 after enacted by Nixon.

Knowing the origin of the Father’s Day and practicing it for a while now, we know it’s a day we call our father, honor him with a present and try to spend some time with him. Sounds fun but wait until you hear how Germans celebrate their fathers…

Understanding what your dad has done for you, how much he went through with you and how hard he has worked, “Vatertag” (German for Father’s Day) gives all fathers (and all men in general) the day off!

The “Herrentag”

Father’s Day in Germany has a different origin than in the US and is a very different to the American version. Yes, Germans honor their fathers, too, but it is more dedicated to all “Herren” (German for men) with one simple goal: Have fun and let go!

Germany’s Vatertag began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession honoring “Gott, den Vater” (German for “God, our father”) on Ascension Day which is a national holiday in May in Germany. Although as late as the 1700s Vatertag was a family day honoring fathers, throughout the years it transpired more into a celebration of “men”kind.

It’s the one day of the year when fathers are officially allowed to liberate themselves from their parenting duties, or men in general from their manners.

Let a man be a man

Today Germany’s Vatertag is therefore more like a “boys’ day out” or a pub tour with the guys (Männerrunde) than the more family-oriented Father’s Day in the U.S. And as we know, the Germans love their beer (and their schnaps) which in some cities makes it more like a drinking day (German: Sauftag).

So, if you are a father, or you might become one one day, here is how you do it:

Get together with your friends in the morning, dress “like you just don’t care” (remember: It’s your day!), fill up a wagon with beer, schnaps, bread and sausage and start walking! Feel free to behave like a caveman when you walk through the cities or woods and enjoy your day!

So forget about breakfast in bed or a coupon for mowing the lawn and start celebrating “German”!


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This entry was posted on June 6, 2012 by in Fun Facts.
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