06 June 2011

Himmelfahrt / Vatertag or a Baptismal Spaceballs Analogy

Spaceballs is one of my favorite movies ever. I´m not exactly sure why this is, considering that many of the people I force to watch it don´t necessarily like it that much. Especially when they aren´t native English speakers and can´t really pick up the jokes. Anyway, I was going to start this post with a particular set of words that reminded me of a Spaceballs quote. So let me begin with the quote first and then move on.

Dark Helmet: Before you die, there is something you should know about us, Lone Starr.
Lone Starr: What?
Dark Helmet: I am your father´s brother´s nephew´s cousin´s former roommate.
Lone Starr: What does that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.

If that didn´t make sense to you, I heartily apologize and strongly suggest you watch the entire film so you can appreciate the context.

Now for what I originally meant to say. Last Thursday was Ascension as well as Father´s Day. I got to experience both in a way, which I would guess not too many people usually do. Let me explain. Ascension is celebrated by attending church. Father´s Day, which always falls on the same day as Ascension, is celebrated in Eutin mostly by young men who form groups, carry various forms of alcohol around in a wagon, and hike around the lake, ending in the Schlosspark (Castle Park) and generally making a big mess and a lot of noise. You can probably imagine that it would be unlikely for someone to actively participate in both celebrations, especially since the Vatertag stuff gets started as early as 10 AM.

Here´s approximately the conversation from last Wednesday night:

Juliane (host mother): Before you go to sleep, there is something you should know about tomorrow.
Me and Grace: What?
Juliane: My acquaintance´s friend´s daughter´s son is being baptized.
Me and Grace: That´s nice.
Juliane: Would you like to come?
Me and Grace: Sure.

AND if I wanted to take this a step further, I could also say: Last Thursday, my host mother´s acquaintance´s friend´s daughter´s son was baptized. How ´bout them apples? Speaking of which, the apple juice here is unforgettable. It´s like fresh orange juice in Florida.

I sang with Juliane´s choir in the church in Süsel for the baptism. We stood in the balcony where the organ is. I really enjoyed the choice of music: the first song was the Abendsegen from Hänsel und Gretel, which I passively already knew from playing in the orchestra, and the second song was an excerpt (Hebe deine Augen auf) from Mendelssohn´s Elias (Elijah), which we also performed this year in Lawrence.

Vatertag was another story. Grace and I had been wanting to ride our bikes around the Eutiner See, which is about 11 kilometers, but we hadn´t had a chance because we´d been busy and because there hadn´t always been such nice weather. We decided to give it a shot on Vatertag and thought it might also be interesting to see for ourselves how the holiday was celebrated. I think it probably took us twice as long to make it around the lake as it would have on a normal day because we would keep running into these groups of people with their wagons. Sometimes they would notice us right away and be all polite and move out of the way but sometimes they didn´t even realize we were there.

My favorite was a group of at least 50 people where one person saw us coming and literally screamed FAHRRAD!! (BIKE!!) until people got out of the way. The group was so large that not everyone heard so a second person screamed the same thing and then a third, and finally we were past the group. It was a very interesting experience, to say the least. But as my coworker at the bank (who has 7-month-old twins) said, once you are actually a father you don´t celebrate father´s day anymore. I may never understand this.

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