Every year on Ascension Day, hordes of men with handcarts and beer are drawn through town or country. The Father’s Day custom originated more than 100 years ago in Berlin.
Always on the 40th day after Easter, the day traditionally known as Ascension Day, thousands of men meet in several regions of Germany to celebrate Father’s Day together. Alcohol often plays a not unimportant role, as does loud music and bizarre disguises.
In other parts of the world, Father’s Day is also a reminder of the role of fathers in society. In Germany, the custom originated in the Berlin area at the end of the 19th century. Ascension Day has been a public holiday since 1934 – and has always been used by men to go on an excursion into nature in groups.
Father’s Day, beer and carts
During the “Men’s Day Party”, formerly also called “Schinkentour”, a cart is often used, in which the mostly liquid food is transported. The participants are often on bicycles, carriages or tractors. The vehicles are then decorated with lilac or birch branches. But increased alcohol consumption also has its downsides. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of road accidents increases significantly on Ascension Day. Up to three times as many accidents are reported on Father’s Day – the peak of the year.
Nevertheless, the custom is indispensable for many and an occasion to devote one day a year to male friendships.
The meaning of Christ’s Ascension
The Christian customs around holidays are even older. Christians have been celebrating Jesus’ ascension to the side of his Creator on the 40th day after Easter since the 4th century. In the 16th century the custom of solemn processions around the fields, praying for a good harvest, began. Here the day came to an end with food and drink, dancing and singing. Later, the ecclesiastical tradition of the day receded more and more into the background and the very worldly, boozy hustle and bustle that is still known today developed.