Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Happy Father’s Day

Last weekend marked Father’s Day for many countries around the world and I made sure to remember to send my dad a card in the post (yes a real one and hand made at that!) and wish him a Happy Father’s Day in the modern form too – a text message via What’sApp!

Now I know that we celebrate Father’s Day here in Germany on Ascension Day but it seems to me that this has a different focus and importance compared to how the Anglo Saxon world celebrates it and it made me wonder what the background is. Our form of Father’s Day is almost identical to Mothering Sunday / Mother’s Day which I talked about in Lisa’s Week 101 (you can find it here) – a day focussed on the father, spent together as a family and with gifts, cards and often special breakfasts or dinners. My sister made me laugh when she posted the list her partner had left her about what would make the “perfect” Father’s Day for him which included a lie-in, a full English breakfast and a dinner to order. Not to mention cuddles from his girls on demand! I do believe that she worked her way through the list and gave him the best Father’s Day ever!

Looking online, I found that Germany is the only country to celebrate on Ascension Day and it appears that this might have its origins in the Ascension Day processions, which have been celebrated since the 1700s. Men would be transported to the town square in a wooden cart and the father with the most children would be given a prize by the mayor. This was usually a large ham! During the 1800s, the religious part of this was gradually lost and it turned into groups of men having a walking tour with ham and of course, beer. This seems to have developed to the Bollerwagen tour that so many men participate in today.

Originally a Catholic celebration on the 19th March - St Joseph’s Day - it was actively supported by the Franciscans as a day to honour paternity sometime around the end of the 14th century or the beginning of the 15th. Some countries in Europe and South America, as well as Angola and Mozambique still celebrate on that day.

However, many more countries have the third Sunday in June as their special day with Wikipedia listing a total of 88 countries, which seems like a lot of celebrating daddies around the world.

With the success of introducing Mother’s Day in the US in the early 1900s, there were several attempts to start the same tradition for the paternal figures in the family in the early decades of the 20th century. But it wasn’t until the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers, joined the push to formalise the celebration, that it really began to establish itself. However, it was viewed with some scepticism as the Father’s Day Council wanted to push the sale of traditionally male targeted gifts – ties and socks spring to mind! - thus pushing this day as a commercial exercise. It was finally designated as an official national holiday by President Nixon in 1972.

The tradition in the UK appears to be far more of a modern concept than the German equivalent with the third Sunday in June being adopted as late as after the Second World War. With no tradition to fall back on, maybe they finally just felt that father’s deserved a day just like the mothers!

Regardless of if you celebrated back in May, last Sunday or any other day in the year and if you celebrated with breakfast in bed or a Bollerwagen tour with friends and beer, I hope you had a good Father’s Day!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2

Episode 91: This is the travel news!

Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!

Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week

Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back

Episode 95: Holy Week

Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time

Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!

Episode 98: Part of the family

Episode 99: It's a boy!

Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!

Episode 101: To all the mothers out there

Episode 102: Up, up and away

Episode 103: A very British affair!

Episode 104: Getting boarded!

Episode 105: How do you say that?

Episode 106: Ready for departure?