Friday, May 14, 2010

Himmel huh? Pente what?

Easter was cold and wet this year, but that's hardly something new. At least we know what we are celebrating at Easter, colored eggs and chocolate bunnies, right?

Funny enough, noone seems to know exactly why we have all of these May holidays.

I asked Andrew, since he's the one in religious education at school, why we were all home on Thursday. "What exactly is Himmelfahrt, Andrew?" He mumbled something about some guy who had built a ladder into heaven. Hmmm? Jacob's ladder maybe?

For the record, the "Himmelfahrt" we celebrate in May is "Christi Himmelfahrt"; it translates into the "Feast of the Ascension, commemorating the day Christ ascended bodily into heaven, forty days after Easter. You know, the cave and the boulder story.

This is as opposed to “Maria Himmelfahrt”, the Catholic Feast of the Assumption, celebrating the ascension of Mary into heaven on August 15. Since she did this during the summer holidays anyway, it really isn't as noteworthy.

Next we get two weeks off for "Pfingsten". “Pfingsten” translates into Pentecost or Whitsunday, the day in which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, fifty days after Easter.

I only remember this because of a really chipper song we learned at Sunday school. "At Pentecost some people received the Holy Spirit. To spread the good news through the world to all who would hear it." Refrain, with hand signals, totally cool and totally catchy. "I am the Church. You are the Church. We are the Church together". Big hug at the end. Really great tune. Nice with a hip Sunday school teacher in fringed blue jeans and an acoustic guitar. I'd teach it to my kids, if only I wasn't now a Taoist.

Anyway, I can't say much about the Holy Spirit, but nowadays most everyone in my neck of the woods catches the holiday spirit and heads south for two weeks.

Spreading the good news? At least spreading that Euro around and praying it will still be worth something when we get home.

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