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Post Mother’s Day Review – Tradition vs. Culture

14 May Posted by in Holidays | 2 comments
Post Mother’s Day Review – Tradition vs. Culture
Yesterday, at the tail end of Mother’s Day, I overheard Kay discussing with a neighbor that celebrating Mother’s Day in the US is a bigger deal than how it is acknowledged in Germany.

Neighbor: Really?

Kay: Yeah, this morning my Facebook blew up with messages from people in the US wishing other Mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.

I was kind of wondering if this was another one of Kay’s attempts to downplay a holiday because it is easier for him that way, or if it is actually true that it isn’t celebrated with the same intensity as it is celebrated in the US.

When he initially saw all of the Facebook messages he said, “You guys and your holidays.” Half in jest and half in truth.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is generally different between families (tradition) and what is actually different between cultures.

I can remember the stress of being in the US trying to figure out what to get my Mother and my Stepmother as gifts. And then going to the store to pick out cards. And then there has to be a meal involved; breakfast, lunch, dinner or for the “classy” folks, brunch, otherwise known as the meal made to sound nice for the late risers. And then the stress of organizing who makes the plans and the reservations or cooks the meals and cleans so as not to make any of the mothers do any work.

I kind of got ripped off by moving to Germany and missing out on the men doing all the work because I didn’t have a child when I lived in the US. But thankfully there was always my sister-in-law’s Dad to cook up a good meal, or my brother to host an awesome barbeque allowing me to tag along pretty much unnoticed because I didn’t have a baby of my own.

On the flip side, in Germany, I think flowers or a box of chocolates is a sufficient Mother’s Day acknowledgement.

Although, this past Sunday morning I only had to ask Kay once to get up with the baby as opposed to the several times I am either asking or begging every other Sunday, so this was an added bonus. (And he let me stay in bed without any disturbances until an obscene time… let’s just say I might have been late to brunch if that was the kind of thing they do in Germany.)

While the two countries may celebrate the day differently, I am a pretty low-key kind of gal, so I actually prefer being in Germany and to not get swept up in all the hustle and bustle and Hallmark Greeting Card commercialism.

As long as I am acknowledged as a mother, that is enough for me. I’ll take free time over monetary gifts for Mother’s Day; extra time for Kay to take care of Fynn and me to actually get to go to the bathroom by myself… sign me up.

I also received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We won’t mention that I threw a fit earlier in the day because Mother’s Day wasn’t acknowledged prior (a.k.a. Kay didn’t say Happy Mother’s Day for Fynn when I came downstairs). Call me petty, but I ask for so little that I am astounded when a simple, “Happy Mother’s Day” can’t be fulfilled.

Father’s day, on the other hand, is celebrated (I don’t even want to call it celebrated, more like acknowledged) this Thursday. It is a national holiday, so no one has to work, but the day off from work is actually for the day Jesus ascended into Heaven.


My husband tried to tell me last year for “Father’s Day” that the men all get together and go somewhere to do something, like a sporting activity; last year it was disc golf. A Father’s Day tradition in German culture.

Father’s Day on the day Jesus ascended into Heaven… this could be interpreted a couple ways. But do the men really think they should be compared to Jesus? So holy that they ascend into Heaven and go play disc golf?

I prefer to think of it as, just try and runaway, you scared little turds, afraid to get your hands dirty and take care of the children on a day off.

Meanwhile, Mother’s Day is on a Sunday when everyone in Germany is off already. (And yet, there were even government elections on Mother’s Day. Is that a slap in the face, or what? Hey, if you want to vote, be sure to get your butt to the poles even though it is Mother’s Day and government should be the last thing on your mind.) So yes, I would say that between the two cultures, Mother’s Day is celebrated/acknowledged differently.

This year, for Father’s Day, the men are getting together Wednesday night to play Skat at our house.

As for Thursday

Sorry, that bit about leaving the house for Father’s Day is a load of crap. Your hungover a§§ is staying right here with the family this year; ascension denied.

If I was confined to the house for Mother’s Day, you’re Father’s Day present is staying at home to “celebrate” with the family too. Family tradition overrides your “cultural differences” because this Expat Mom says so.

Life is like a baby’s dirty diaper… Father’s never know what they’re gonna get. But a mother knows when it smells like sh*t.

  1. Carolee05-14-12

    Have to tell you this was one of my favorites!!!
    Yes, here Mother’s Day is barely acknowledged.. lucky if your kids even say those magic words, but the Dad’s… that’s a whole different story. Most do magnificant all men bike (a.k.a drinking themselves into oblivian)tours. Then spend the rest of the day or even the next napping!
    Us Moms don’t just get the dirty diapers.. we also get the §hit end of the stick. :-)

  2. Rick Litchfield05-19-12

    Happy belated Mother’s Day! I found the German Father’s day a bit too unorthodox for my taste as well.
    Rick Litchfield recently posted..How curried sausage won the Cold War: A hyperbolic treatise on CurrywurstMy Profile

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