Ascension Day in Germany: 3 Ways to Salute Christi Himmelfahrt (Bonus Vocabulary)

Public holidays in German-speaking regions are of tradition, part of the culture, and history.

From “Christi Himmelfahrt” (Ascension Day in Germany) to “Vatertag,” each holiday has unique customs in different communities. If you learn about these public holidays, you won’t only have insights into the German culture but will also learn useful vocabulary and chunks. Easy German made an amazing, in-depth podcast episode about holidays and celebrations in Germany. Take a look!

Look at the German language through its festive calendar: all the while learning the language!

1. What Is Ascension Day in Germany and Why Is It Celebrated?

Effortless Answers

Ascension Day in Germany is also known as “Himmelfahrt“.
It is the celebration of the day on which Christians believe Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after his resurrection. This day is not only celebrated in Germany but also in other German-speaking countries as a public holiday.

Falling on the 40th day of Easter in German speaking countries, Ascension Day is celebrated because it marks the fulfillment of the promise of Easter: Jesus Christ’s resurrection and ascension to prepare a place for his followers.

In Germany, “Christi Himmelfahrt” is a public holiday, granting people a day off work to participate in different celebrations, religious or otherwise.

2. Ascension Day celebrated in Germany: 40th Day of Easter

The date of Ascension Day changes yearly because it is based on the date of Easter Sunday, which is different each year. Ascension Day is celebrated on the 40th day post-Easter: it can happen anytime between April 30 and June 3.

The day marks Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven, an event that is believed to have happened 39 days after Easter Sunday, with the Ascension itself marking the 40th day.

3. Christi Himmelfahrt: 3 Public Holiday traditions

As a public holiday in Germany, Ascension Day, or “Christi Himmelfahrt,” is celebrated with a mix of religious and secular traditions. Many Germans start the day by attending church services where the ascension of Jesus is commemorated through scripture readings and hymns. Such services reflect the day’s religious significance.

Following the church services, it’s customary for people to head outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. Picnics and leisure walks in the countryside are popular activities: families and friends are coming together to enjoy food and drink in nature.

ascension day in germany is often celebrated with a picnic on green fields

Private celebrations also play an important part in observing this day. Many families hold small get-togethers or feasts at home, taking this time to be with loved ones and reflect on the Ascension’s meaning. It’s a day marked by both communal and personal observances.

4. Feast of the Ascension Vocabulary

The celebration of Ascension Day is closely connected together with the German language. German is full of specific terms and chunks related to this holiday.

Ascension Vocabulary in German

Christi HimmelfahrtAscension Day
Öffentlicher FeiertagPublic holiday
KirchendienstChurch service
VatertagFather’s Day
HimmelfahrtskommandoAscension command (colloquial)
Aufstieg in den HimmelAscension to heaven
FronleichnamCorpus Christi
GottesdienstWorship service
FeiertagszugHoliday parade
FamilienfeierFamily celebration
Traditionelle BräucheTraditional customs

5. The Tradition of “Vatertag” and Ascension Day

In Germany, Ascension Day is, in some cases, synonymous with “Vatertag” (Father’s Day) or “Männertag” (Men’s Day).

Traditionally, this day has is often observed by seeing groups of men, often pulling a cart filled with beer and food, hiking through fields and forests.

Although the origins of this tradition are somewhat unclear, it has evolved into a day for men to enjoy camaraderie and outdoor activities. Vatertag has evolved into a broader celebration that focuses on the father’s importance in a family.

Vocabulary connected to Vatertag

VatertagFather’s Day
MännertagMen’s Day
BiergartenBeer garden
WanderstabWalking stick

6. Learn more about public holiday in Germany with Conversation Based Chunking

Here, on Effortless Conversations, we always mention that learning a language isn’t just about focusing on grammar and learning chunks but also familiarizing yourself with the culture.

Effortless Summary

• Ascension Day, or “Christi Himmelfahrt,” is a Christian holiday celebrated on the 40th day of Easter
• It is a public holiday in Germany
• Vatertag, coinciding with Ascension Day, is a day for camaraderie and outdoor activities.

By using Conversation Based Chunking, learning how to discuss these holidays in German becomes more engaging. It will allow for a more immersive and overall better experience of Germany’s cultural and religious observances.

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