A Special Activity on Father’s Day in Germany

For quite a few years, we have attended this little Bierfest at the local Schützenverein (gun club), somewhere hidden in the forest around Oberursel.

Every year, this fest seems to get smaller. Last year, we missed the music, as there was no band playing. This year again, there was no band, and we even had to ask for a Bierbank (table and benches), so we could sit down.

A very small German Bierfest in Oberursel

No longer was there a menu pinned up either. All they had was Bratwurst, Rindwurst or steaks. We were very happy, nevertheless. Very little was offered, but it was still a very typical German Bierfest.

The highlight was the arrival of the typical Father’s Day group of young men. They, young fathers included, get to take the day off from family. They start drinking as early as they get together and by tractor and wagon, they go fest-hopping. There are so many little beer fests happening on Father’s Day, so by the time they hit the third fest at 2 p.m., they are halfway drunk.

Father's Day wagon ride

They arrived with loud music, loud conversation, and approached the fest in a very cheerful mood.

Portable Bierfest on Father's Day

On our way out, we got to take a look at their tractor and wagon. They drink while traveling around in the wagon, and they drink again at every Bierfest or Biergarten.

This is not only tolerated, but also normal in rural German culture.

I grew up with this tradition, but find it most surprising how popular it still is today.

And by the way – today, 2 June 2011, is Christ Ascension Day. Father’s Day in Germany is always on this public holiday.

Easter Decoration in Germany

The tradition of decorating the local fountain near church for the Easter holiday might soon become extinct.

On our drive to Franconia in Northern Bavaria, we only passed two villages with a display of public Easter decoration.

Franconian village Easter decoration

One photo opportunity I missed as we were going around a tight bend in another village, and the third Easter display I found right here in my hometown village of Hambach (suburb of Dittelbrunn, near Schweinfurt).

Easter decoration in Hambach (Franconia)

Customs are bound to change with time.

Solar Panels – the New Cash Crop

On our most recent drive to Franconia, we noticed again how progress and tradition blend. I admire the Franconian hillsides covered in lush vines as well as the plains with their wheat and sunflower fields reflecting in the golden sun light.

And yet, all this sun light produces an additional cash crop: solar energy. Occasionally we spot big fields covered with black solar panels, along the wayside of the Autobahn. What an unusual sight!

solar panels and black looking fields

Our eyes have become accustomed to seeing black roof tops on houses in small villages.. But it will take us a few more drives on the Autobahn into Northern Bavaria to get used to seeing these black fields without thinking something has gone wrong.

More about Solar Electricity Handbook, 2010 Edition: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy – Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems from Amazon.com

I am all for solar energy. But my habitual German eyes have to learn to catch up to my progressive mind.

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