Today’s the day- no, not Ascension Day. That’s right, it’s Herrentag! Also known as Vatertag, the German Father’s Day is when German men and teenage boys grab their beer, throw it in a cart, and then go on a drunken hike in the woods- as MEN! Just as Ascension Day marks the time when Jesus returned to his Holy Father, Herrentag is a day to celebrate being a father by historically giving the man with the most children a large piece of ham. Indeed, this is a day for just men- no girls allowed. Curious? I was, too! Until I participated myself and wrote this poem about my experience. Please, enjoy!
(to the tune of “The Night Before Christmas”)
‘Twas the Day of Ascension, and all thro’ the flat
Not a creature was stirring- not even a gnat.
The groceries were stored in the fridge the night before
Because today’s a holiday, and all closed would be the store.
My roommate was sleeping the night off in his bed,
While I woke up looking for the bathroom instead.
I stumbled to the john, buck naked- keine Klamotten;
Past the curtains pulled back on an open window I’d forgotten.
When out in the Hof there arouse such a clatter,
I turned my whole body and the toilet seat I did spatter.
Away to the window, I ran- full dash!
Then remembered it was open, and the neighbors I did flash.
I pulled my robe on, and from my window gazed out,
To see what the hell these dicks were shouting out.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a wooden Bollerwagen, filled up with bottled beer.
With a group of men, both young and old,
Gathered up real close to shield from the cold.
Together they drank, and much to my chagrin,
Began chanting a chant, a Herrentag hymn.
“Now! Männer, now! Junge, now! Men over thirteen!
On! Boys, on! All who in their legs have penises between!;
To the top of the hill! To the woods, let’s this cart haul!
Now quickly, aw skeet skeet, from the windows to the wall!”
With the speed of a snail and the coordination of a blind toad,
They pulled the wagon slowly along the front road.
So off to the woods the Männer were slowly lost,
Snacking from time to time on Hausmannskost.
And then in a twinkling, I heard my neighbor ‘cross the Hof,
“LEISE, IHR SCHWEINE! ES IST FEIERTAG, DUMMKOPF!“
As I drew in my head, and my robe once more closing,
My roommate came out from his room, sans clothing.
“What the fuck is that noise?” he wondered, to no one.
“Some guys in the yard,” I said, “Man seriously, put clothes on.”
Another sharp sound drew my attention once more,
As I saw another wagon with more men than before.
Their eyes- how the twinkled! Their faces: so drunk!
One ripped up a Brezel and threw me a chunk.
“Come join us!” he said; at least, I think that was it.
Admittedly, I’m American, and my German is shit.
“We’re hiking! In the woods! Wir werden spazieren gehen!
Deswegen wir uns betrunken, es ist gefährlich für unsere Leben.”
I looked to my roommate and then back at the beer cart,
Wasn’t this a holy day, a Christi Himmelfahrt?
Would they seriously be out drinking in the woods all day?
Just a bunch of strange men getting blasted to their wives’ dismay?
Should I join these strange travelers to the hills up on high?
Or is this a horror movie- and would these hills have eyes?
In the end I came with, joining these men on a drunken hike,
Knowing full well that on this day alcohol-related accidents would spike.
“Hey wait, where’s the women?” I asked to everyone aloud,
To be greeted with laughter and guffaws from the crowd.
“Only Herren can do Herrentag! The women are in their nests!
We eat Wurst und drink Bier, no girls- it’s a true sausagefest!”
And through the night we did drink; and on ham we did overdose,
Till we all passed out in the park, with our brains left comatose.
I stumbled out from the trees all alone with a road beer,
Ready to celebrate Vatertag once again that next year.
But I heard them exclaim, as I began to walk on home,
“Schönes Herrentag, meine Männer! Oh shit, where’s my phone?”
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