Tag Archives: Switzerland

It’s Father’s Day in the USA – Vatertag in the USA

Today is Father’s Day here in America. This day of honorig all Dads is celebrated in the USA every year on the third Sunday in June, almost a month later than in Germany!

In Germany, Father’s Day – ‘Vatertag’ coincides with the church holiday of ‘Christi Himmelfahrt’ (Ascension of Jesus). It’s a national holiday and it’s always happening on a Thursday since the Ascension of Jesus is celebrated 39 days after Easter Sunday.

Interestingly, not all German speaking countries are celebrating Father’s Day on the same day. Austria for example has its Father’s Day on the second Sunday in June, while Switzerland initially didn’t have a dedicated Father’s Day until 2009. Since then the official Swiss Father’s Day is happening on the first Sunday in June.

How is Father’s Day celebrated in Germany? It used to be or often still is a day, on which fathers/men celebrate themselves and enjoy each other’s company in fact without family and children! In North Germany and East Germany, Father’s Day tellingly is called ‘Herrentag’ (Day of the Men) .

But more and more young families nowadays celebrate Father’s Day pretty much the same like we do here in the United Sates and make it a day with the family. I personally remember Father’s Day being a day for and with my Dad.

While Father’s Day has been an official holiday in Germany since 1934, the United States’ first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in the State of Washington; however it wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became a permanent national holiday in the USA.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! 

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Image: Pixabay.com


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Frohe Weihnacht – Merry Christmas

The tradition of Christmas Eve in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Many countries around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways and on different days. In Germany, Austria and the German part of Switzerland it is custom to celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24th, and many families end the holy night with the midnight mass at local churches. In contrary to the American Christmas Eve parties the celebration is one mostly with only the immediate family. The days of the 25th and 26th are the days to visit other relatives and close friends and celebrate with them as well.

December 24th is also often the day when the Christmas tree is festively decorated together with the whole family and some pay a last visit to the Christkindel markets, which close that afternoon until next year’s Christmas season.

Who will bring the presents to the children in Germany? Well, this depends if one is from the south or the north. The children in the north of Germany traditionally have the “Weihnachtsmann” similar to Father Christmas bring the gifts in the evening, whereas in the
south of Germany, and also in Austria, children are waiting for the “Christkind” (Christ Child) to bring them presents.

With this CaliforniaGermans wishes you all a wonderful Merry Christmas, Fröhliche Weihnachten, and a prosperous and happy New Year!

If you would like to know where you can find a German Christmas Eve church service in your neighborhood, please follow the link to the German Consulate.

Happy Holidays!

Cornelia & CaliforniaGermans