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Vatertag - Father's Day in German

By Ronda Bowen

Tell your Pop, "Happy Father's Day" in another language. Learn the German words and terms to celebrate Dad on his special day.

Origins

Father's Day in Germany is always celebrated on Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, which, this year, is the 21st of May. The tradition began in the Middle Ages as a religious holiday to Honor God the Father with processions on Ascension Day.

From there the celebration proceeded to a special day to Honor the pater familas , the head of and bread-winner for the family, the hard working man who protected his loved ones and put food on the table. He should be acknowledged and have a much deserved day of rest. This meaning and tradition of Father's Day was typical for the 1700s.

In the 19th century and in particular in Berlin, today again German's capital, things changed dramatically. Vatertag became a day of initiation for young men into the circle of the grown ups. This went with the tradition of the Herrenpartie, including heavy drinking. Early in the morning of Himmelfahrtstag, young and old men used to make up parties, dress in suits and the famous Kreissaege, board a Landauer or Leiterwagen and set off to their Herrenpartie ins Gruene. The trip involved frequent stops at pubs and heavy consumption of beer and Schnaps. The members of the party didn't necessarily have to be fathers at all; being male was excuse enough to participate in the drunken spree.

Things have changed in recent years. Although, particularly in rural areas, men still go on Herrenpartien, Vatertag, much like Muttertag, has become a family day out. Parents and children often go on bicycle tours. As the date coincides with the better and warmer weather in cool Germany, Himmelfahrt often also marks the beginning of the outdoor grill season.

Kreissaege and Kutsche

Words Related to Father's Day

Der Vatertag - Father's Day

Der Vater - father

Pappi - daddy

Vati - daddy

Lieber Vater - dear daddy

Ich hab Dich lieb - I love you

Das Herz - heart

Das Gedicht - poem

Die Feier - celebration

Die Tradition - tradition

Der Himmelfahrtstag - Ascension Day

Osterns - Easter

ehren - to honor

Die Jahreszeit - season

Die Herrenpartie - gentlemen's party

Die Maennerrunde - pub tour

Der Sauftag - day of excessive drinking

Trinken - to drink

Das Bier - beer

Betrunken - drunk

Der Alkohol - alcohol

trinkfest - holding alcohol well

unter den Tisch trinken - to drink someone under the table

Das Ritual - ritual

Der Kater - hangover

Der Kopfschmerz - headache

Die Kumpel - buddies

Der Leiterwagen - carriage

Die Kreissaege - round straw hat with narrow brim

ins Gruene - to the countryside

Der Feiertag - bank holiday

Fruehmorgens - early in the morning

Der Ursprung - origin

Das Fahrrad - bicycle

zum Wohl - cheers

Prost - cheers

Die Kneipe - pub

Die Einweihung - initiation

Das Mittelalter - Middle Ages

Die Prozession - procession

Der Junggeselle - bachelor

A Proverb

That's what they say on Father's Day:

Vater werden ist nicht schwer

Vater sein dagegen sehr!

Becoming a father is easy, being a father on the other hand is very difficult.