Monthly Archives: May 2012

If you go down to the woods today…

… you’ll find lots of families treating their fathers to a picnic. Today is Ascension day – and also Father’s Day in Germany.

Of course this means that the picnic isn’t just any old picnic… it’s a special Daddy-picnic. Essential supplies will be transported using a Bollerwagen … a pull-along hand cart.

Essential Father’s Day equipment

The Bollerwagen is also quite handy for getting Dad home again after the picnic, I believe….

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Filed under About Germany, German festivals, Life in Germany

German Mother’s Day

Today is Muttertag in Germany. This is not to be confused with the British Mothering Sunday, which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent.  Mothering Sunday most likely dates from the 16th century custom of visiting one’s mother church annually on Laetare Sunday which meant that mothers would be reunited with their children on this day.

German Mother’s day has a completely different origin. Back in the 1920s, Germany had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and politicians, churches and women’s groups were concerned with promoting the value of motherhood. In 1923 the Association of German Florists decided to introduce Muttertag – the Mother’s Day holiday celebrated in America and Norway.

The greatest champions of Muttertag were the Nazis, who declared it an official public holiday and awarded varying levels of the Mutterkreuz to women who had large numbers of children.  To count the children also had to be genetically healthy, of Germanic blood, politically reliable and have no obvious vices.  A minimum of four such Aryan children was required for a Mutterkreuz – and at least eight for a gold one.

Nowadays in Germany Muttertag is celebrated on the second Sunday of May – and has largely gone back to its origins – the tills of the German florists will be ringing with everyone’s pocket money this week!

Look what my lovely (non-Aryan, politically incorrect, vice-riddled) children have bought me!

Mothers Day

German florists will be rubbing their hands

Who wants a gold Mutterkreuz anyway?

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German men… we know your secret!

I was out and about this week when I spotted a new brand of aftershave on the shelves of a German drugstore.  Scotish Man. Not Scottish… no, Scotish.  In the same way that the word “posh” is pronounced with a long O if you want it to sound really really posh.  Or it might possibly be a veiled allusion to the scone pronunciation dilemma which dogs all corners of the British Isles and makes us end up ordering crumpets instead.

Aspirational stuff for Germans?

This is clearly an aspirational product for the Germans.  Who could resist the lure of a German who smells like a Scotsman? Of course, the big question is, what does a Scotsman actually smell like? Is this fragrance composed using delicate notes of sea breezes, heather and bracken, or are we talking about undertones of deep-fat fried Mars bars, haggis, neeps, whisky and irn bru? Will there be a lingering after-scent of caber-tosser’s armpit, or kilt-wearer’s privates?

I was intrigued, on inspecting the back of the packaging, to find that this particular eau de toilette (and I use the French term in a Celtic context here) is manufactured in Poland. Could it be that the canny Scots are actually exporting their body odours to Eastern Europe to provide the raw ingredients for this olefactory delight?

I think finally we may have discovered the must-have gift for the smelly German in our lives.

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Filed under Life in Germany