Food & Drink

Father’s Day Is So Much Better in Germany

Ullstein Bild

American ideas of a good Father’s Day consist of sleeping in, lounging with family, receiving ugly ties they'll wear exactly once, grilling and otherwise doing the usual dad business but with extra consideration from the fam. This quintessential American dream pales in comparison to the holiday as it’s celebrated in Germany. Over there, Vatertag (Father’s Day), aka Men’s Day, aka Ascension Day is a total rager, where men dress up and drink all the German beer they can handle. The best part is that any man can participate, father or not, in this general celebration of masculinity (because men needed yet more confirmation).

Celebrated on a Thursday in May, rather than a Sunday, Vatertag coincides with Ascension Day, the German equivalent of the Feast of the Ascension, which marks Jesus’s ascension to heaven and return to the Holy Father. Groups of German men, meanwhile, descend into nature to do as god intended: drink in the woods. Decked out in bold outfits and armed with a trusty Bollerwagen, a wooden cart stocked with enough brews to last the whole day, men wander around drinking and generally toasting their manhood. Those too lazy to tug a massive cart behind them all day simply wander from beer garden to beer garden.

The holiday has become infamous for extreme public drunkenness to rival Oktoberfest, prompting some public officials to condemn the celebrations—but so far the proud partiers of Vatertag have not yielded. Since drinking in public is frowned upon, if not illegal, in much of the U.S., you’ll have to head to Germany to experience true Vatertag. Just make sure to show up with your loudest and ugliest Father’s Day tie. It will blend right in on Vatertag.