Parental Appreciation, German-Style

May is pretty awesome as far as free time goes. We’ve had two public holidays thus far, with two more before the end of the month. My only argument with this is that three of the four fall on Wednesdays or Thursdays, aka my busier days of the week. My lazy side loves this, while my wallet does not appreciate… especially as I’m heading Stateside in a mere 18 days. But, you win some, you lose some, am I right? 

Last Thursday was Christi Himmelfahrt, or Ascension Day, or something I’ve never heard of prior to living in Catholic Bavaria. For some reason, the Germans decided to go ahead and sandwich this together with Father’s Day. In the middle of the week, as it’s always a Thursday. Now, this is Germany, so I’m sure there’s some logical reason for this (other expat folk… feel free to weigh in on this for me), but I don’t know what it is. 

In America, Father’s Day is the day to make your dad breakfast, let him watch sports uninterrupted, or do something with the family. In Germany? Well…. not so much. I foolishly asked students what they planned on doing for the occasion and I got two responses.

1) Um, nothing?
2) Drink

One group told me that the guys all get together, and pull wagons filled with beer from pub to pub. Basically a bar crawl except they don’t stop drinking between bars… hence the wagon. While I was out and about on “Father’s Day” I saw a few of these groups. One group was all in Lederhosen, with one girl in a Dirndl along for the ride. And for some reason, this poor girl was tasked with pulling the wagon. The other group I saw was this one…

Sorry it’s so far away… I was on my phone and trying not to attract their attention by gawking. Right after this they crossed the street, and six of them went behind a billboard to empty their bladders, so I doubt they would have noticed either way. With their minds distracted and all.

According to my students though, this is more of a ‘sport’ for the young’uns. Once they have kids, they get stuck at home and don’t get to pull wagons through the street anymore. Schade.

Now, if you are one of the odd folks who enjoys getting their dad a little something for Father’s Day, might I direct your attention to the following link. I can’t figure out a way to embed it here, so just go ahead and click on the first video. 

Perhaps it’s not practical for everyday use, but if you’re having a party? Perfect!
I’m happy to report that I spent my German “Father’s Day” following tradition, and enjoying the sun and warm(ish) weather in the beer gardens of Nürnberg. I even ventured to the city beach, where the lukewarm temperatures did not deter the people who wanted to stick their feet in the sand. I’m pretty sure everyone here is is dying for real summer though. It might get desperate soon. 
Even though Father’s Day is on a different day here, Mother’s Day falls on the same Sunday as in the States. In contrast to the beer-fueled Thursday before, Mother’s Day is pretty standard. People don’t go quite as Hallmark-holiday crazy as they do at home, but the flowers and lunch are pretty much the same.
On Friday I was dispatched to the city center to pick up some flowers for BV’s mom, and we took her (and his brother) to the Fränkische Schweiz on Sunday. It was a lovely (albeit partially gray) day, but that will have to wait for the next post. Don’t worry, there will be pictures. Of rocks! And tiny horses! 

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