I’ll be honest, I was expecting this post to be chock full of the crazy differences between American Mother’s Day and German Muttertag. Turns out they’re pretty much the same. This doesn’t make for a good blog post. BUT… telling you the story of MÄNNERTAG probably will.
First however, here is my wonderful mother because it’s Muttertag (and father too so I don’t have to post again on Father’s Day):
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Mother’s Day is where you leave wherever you are on the Second Sunday in May in order to go give your mother (and HER mother also) a hug and a card and maybe flowers if you remembered. This is functionally the same in Germany as it is in America. Your grandmother probably also magically spawns some baked goods relevant to your family’s heritage out of thin air. It’s a wonderful holiday.
There is this OTHER holiday called Father’s Day or Vatertag. In America, here’s how it works: you drop whatever you’re doing on June 15th in order to look your father directly in the eyes and give him a firm handshake, assuring him that you’ll get a job soon, you promise, oh and here are some socks. Maybe you tell him you love him. (I uhhh… like you, dad… kind of). It’s all fairly unexciting and straightforward.
In Germany, Vatertag is completely different. First, it’s literally a completely different day – the Thursday that comes 40 days after Easter, also called Ascension Day, instead of June 15th like it is in the US. (Whoever creates these holidays needs to just decide on a specific date because these rules are too much). But that’s not even the most important part – it’s also called Männertag or Herrentag, both of which mean MAN DAY and completely ignore the fact that not all men are fathers. It’s more or less an excuse for white men to celebrate themselves – how great is that!? It’s really only okay, but the true greatness of Männertag isn’t the pale flabby stomachs, sandals with high socks, or dad jokes. It’s the beerwagens (what were you expecting?).
In Germany the tradition is for ALL MEN to take their beer and their boombox, place it in a suitable wagen, and then walk around town without any bothersome women or children around so they can drink and wish other men a happy MAN DAY. Some of these wagens can get out of hand:
Any German man will have memories of walking around the park on Männertag in order to inebriate themselves while shouting across the fields at other groups of men that their wagen is “supertoll,” before they pass out on a park bench. Seriously, it’s a problem. On the other hand, many men successfully refrain from getting drunk (not sure if that’s actually a success…), and actually return home to their loving families in time to be celebrated there as well. (GO WHITE, WESTERN MEN!) American men would surely be in favor of adopting this tradition but I’m not sure if we can live up to it because it really is a great time. Look at these Männer having a blast!
Read this by Spiegel, or go get some beer and a wagon if you want to know more!