For newcomers to Berlin, the city-province with the fewest vacation days of all German states, every vacation is a reason to celebrate. That's especially true next Thursday (May 26, 2022), when Berlin celebrates Father's Day, Men's Day or Ascension Day! name it as you like.
These three occasions seem to be completely independent of each other and only intersect on this day. Also, in the eyes of many, the joyous celebrations in the streets, the beer-drinking, and the parties don't have much to do with what we know about the church and religious occasions, which makes the reason for the celebration confusing and strange for many new Berliners, especially those of non-European or American origin.
In fact, the cause for this confusion is that this holiday originated from the religious event of Ascension Day. Yet the celebration dates back to traditions in and around Berlin since the early nineteenth century when groups of men celebrated Father's Day with day tours and drinks.
Father's Day is best compared to the Lady's Day - Eid al-Sayedeh- celebrations in most cities in the Levant, as the religious events are insignificant compared to the huge celebrations. Both celebrations bring people together and involve a lot of drinking of local Levantine wine and arak, while in Berlin the festivities include mostly beer with a minor presence of other drinks.
Ascension Day is celebrated somewhat differently in the Eastern churches than in the Western churches. In most European countries, Ascension Day is celebrated according to the Western Gregorian calendar. When Jesus Christ, after his 40-day stay after the resurrection, ascends to heaven on Easter with his disciples and missionaries near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to show them how to carry out his instructions. The celebration of Ascension Day began in the late fourth -early fifth century. Since the Middle Ages, the traditions of Ascension Day have included processions that symbolized the procession of missionaries and Christ's disciples as they returned from the Mount of Olives. Men's games have also been celebrated in and around Berlin since at least the nineteenth century.
Celebrations with parades and alcoholic beverages continued in groups until the nineteenth century. The center of these traditions was Berlin and its surroundings. Especially with the growth of the city and the increase in the number of workers and single men who met to drink on holidays. Some historians even suggest that the the actual reason behind the celebration with beer rather than wine, the traditional religious festive drink, is the evolution of breweries in and around Berlin.
This could lead to the conclusion that the reason was essentially commercial. Similar to the reason why Father's Day was introduced from America. Because the celebration of Father's Day began in Europe only in the thirties of the last century. At that time, advertisers wanted to bring Father's Day to Europe. In the 1930s, Dutch tobacco manufacturers began promoting Father's Day as a counterpart to Mother's Day, while shirts were promoted in Austria and ties in Germany.
Father’s Day began as a tribute from an American girl to her father in 1910. After the death of his wife, the father raised his six children alone. As a result, the American Louise Dodd began to organize a day in honour of fathers. . Mother's Day was already there at the time, so why not Father's Day? This honor day spread quickly across the United States. As early as 1924, the president at the time invited the population to celebrate this day.
In Europe, Father's Day became directly associated with Ascension Day, since the essence of the Ascension event is the return of the Son to his Father. Ascension Day is in all respects a holiday on the warm days of the year. Therefore, the number of celebrating and drinking men increased with time.
This tradition took root in the 1960s with the abolition of the holiday of Ascension Day by the German Democratic Republic. After that, the tradition continued until the abolition of the holiday. This led to the occasion breaking away from the religious holiday and establishing itself as a tradition throughout northern and eastern Germany.
This tradition has survived to this day, especially in the east. And essentials like a parade and cold drinks in baskets decorated with traditional plants take root more and more every year. In recent years, the number of people celebrating with other drinks such as wine and gin with beer has increased, and the number of accidents has increased as well to three times higher than on ordinary day. This has eventually led to increasing criticism of the tradition of the way this holiday is celebrated in Berlin and Germany. And the number of voices calling for a reconsideration of the celebration of this holiday is also increasing.
It’s a historical fact that Alcohol has been part of almost all celebrations from ancient times until this day. As in the celebrations in Syria and Lebanon on the Feast of the Lady-day and the Feast of the Cross-day, wine and arak are an essential part of the celebrations that take place during these events. Just like beer on Men's Day in Germany.
We at Enab-Berlin invite you to celebrate Men's Day this year with our rich collections of Levantine wine and arak delivered to your doorstep. We stress that alcohol should be enjoyed wisely, and treated as a delight and not consumption!
Drink Wisely! Be Safe! and Celebrate Well with Enab-Berlin!