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Vatertag - Father's Day in German

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 4/5/2012

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

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    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.

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    Kreissaege and Kutsche

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    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

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    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.

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Additional Info