Rename Christi Himmelfahrt!

Those wacky, madcap Germans are promoting a little change in their set of national holidays: some people want to change the Feast of the Ascension, celebrating the day Jesus supposedly floated up into heaven, to…Evolution Day! As you might guess, I think this is an excellent idea. There is a petition you can sign, and less usefully, an online poll:

Soll “Christi Himmelfahrt” in “Evolutionstag” umbenannt werden?

Ich bin dafür (for it) 3061
Ich bin dagegen (against it) 1312
Ist mir egal (don’t care) 244

They even have a charming video to go with their proposal.


  1. mikecbraun says

    Christi Himmelfahrt was Dieter Schnitzelpenis’ high school girlfriend, I think. Just kidding, I know my Deutsch. “Christ’s heaven trip,” or something to that effect. My favorite German word was always “schlittenfahrt,” which means “sleigh ride.” It sounds juicy, though.

  2. nick nick bobick says

    Wow! I am grinning from ear to ear. That is the best 3 minute homage to Darwin & his theory that I have ever seen. Kudos to the composer.

  3. Carole says

    Ha! That was the best video I have ever seen. How can I get that song as my cell phone ringer? I want to wake up to that old man singing and dancing outside my window each day… what a glorious morning that would be! “We are children of evolution… hallelujah!”

  4. Alethias says

    Maybe we can get a supermodel to rename herself Christi Himmelfahrt and be the spokesmodel for Evolution Day.

    Now that would be awesome.

  5. Tiska says

    One might also note that the text and vocal credits go to Michael Salomon-Schmitt, who is known in Germany for having published several children’s books on atheism and evolution such as “Susi Neunmalklug erklärt die Evolution: Ein Buch für kleine und große Besserwisser”(Susi Smartypants explains evoultion: A book for small and big smartypants) and “Wo bitte geht’s zu Gott? fragte das kleine Ferkel. Ein Buch für alle, die sich nichts vormachen lassen” (What’s the way to god? asked the little piglet. A book for all who won’t be fooled).

    He has the reputation of being a rather silly fellow, then again, I daresay I cannot recall having heard of such literature existing before Michael Salomon-Schmitt. And I’m heck of a bookish person.

    I really love the effort the Bruno-Giordano-Stiftung is giving and currently they are trying to organise a german atheist bus campaign. Support has already been found and as I heard from the german “Brights Blog” the only thing left to do is pick the slogan.
    More info is available at the german Brights Blog.

    Small handicap: … it’s all german.

    Anyways… the video made me chuckle.

  6. black wolf says

    Finally a petition that’s not for US or UK residents only.

    I’m on the list now (you have to activate by reply email to confirm). To include peoples’s professions is a very cool idea, as it demonstrates that ‘we’ come from all walks of life.
    And, the list may assist in finding a fellow evolutionist professional when you need one. ;)
    It would be interesting to see a map displaying the regional distribution.

  7. Keenacat says

    This is teh awsum!
    I so signed the petition. Neat. I’ll go and send the link on to some friends I suspect of being atheist at heart.

    Sadly, mommy and the boyfriend won’t approve of that. Mommy doesn’t even know I do not believe in the magic skyfairy and the boyfriend still hopes for a white wedding complete with a priest and prayer as well as for baptism of future kids.
    Hassle over such things with the people you love sucks.

  8. Ben Breuer says

    I MUST protest! I’ve been to a few Christ Himmelfahrt feasts with decent beer and Roter (sausage), and I don’t wanna miss that. Now, if they created a new Darwin Day (preferably neither in November nor in February) and offered some good grub, I’d go along. The video is great!

    (Perhaps they could make it Oct 2? That’s the return date of Darwin’s Beagle voyage, the weather could still be decent, and it’s just before the German national holiday. Double holiday! Who wouldn’t go along with that?)

  9. catta says

    Can anyone explain why this is a German effort, but the sone on the video is in English?

    Sure: 1 – English is kewl, whether you know how to speak it properly or not (you should see the things they do to English in an attempt to sound vaguely cosmopolitan…). German isn’t. 2 – The play on “children of the revolution” doesn’t work in German. Unless you translated the original into German and then put appropriate lyrics to that, in which case nobody would recognise it – the majority of pop music played here is in English.

    Also, Christi Himmelfahrt already shares its date with Vatertag, i.e. father’s day. Most people don’t even know Christi Himmelfahrt is on the same day unless they’re Catlicks – in not-so-Catholic areas, most of the male population is too busy boozing to pay any attention to it. So it’s not like that majority will notice the change either way. Still, good idea and I’m all for it.

  10. says


    Actually, “Schlitten fahren” _is_ one somewhat common term for doing it.

    Also, this video once again reminded me that some time, I need to actually officially leave the church. One third? It’s probably way more. But up until the point where you’d have to pay church taxes (Such a thing exists here in germany), you’re usually too lazy to officially register that you are not to be considered a member of any church anymore…

  11. NoFear says

    Great idea …… horrible song. I can hear the christians now “Even your atheist music has no soul”. :-)

  12. catta says

    Sorry for the quick second post, but I want to add two things. First, I promise there are Germans who don’t pronounce “evolved” “ewooof”, and NoFear: horrible mostly because it sounds exactly like Christian attempts at rock or pop. I agree that this is a Very Bad Thing. Still, marks for overall effort. ;)

    Second, more importantly: since this is a poll at Spiegel Online, those of you who read or are German might want to have a look at their forums. The recent articles about evolution and the growing number of creationists have attracted an astounding number of complete and utter idiots. If there ever was any doubt about the creatards gaining a foothold in Germany, a quick glance at the relevant threads will remove it. If, like me, you have German friends who are fond of saying “no way, those kind of people don’t exist outside of the US”, point them there. It’s a (stomach-turning) eye opener.

    Most of the IDiots there aren’t Christians, though. More often they’re new-agey “my mind is so open you could lead a family of mammoths through it – on pogo sticks” types. And yet the arguments are mostly parroted from the Discovery Institute talking points.

  13. 'Tis Himself says

    horrible song

    I thought the song was pretty good. It wasn’t Twisted Sister or Guns n Roses but it was better than Garth Brooks.

  14. 386sx says

    some people want to change the Feast of the Ascension, celebrating the day Jesus supposedly floated up into heaven,

    What, people think Jesus flew up in the sky? Like a birdie or something? As in… tweet tweet? Like a tweety-bird Jesus or something like that?

  15. gingerbeard says

    It is nice to see a move towards greater secularization of holidays. It s time to strip the religion out of pancake day, and chocolate egg day. Kristmas is already pretty much fully secular. The signing was horrid, but I did like the brief appearance of the Cathedral of Cologne. What an amazing bit of architecture.

  16. Keenacat says

    Yay for chocolate egg day. I’ll get myself some of those delicious white chocolate easter bunnys this year.

  17. Sastra says

    gingerbeard #21 wrote:

    It s time to strip the religion out of pancake day, and chocolate egg day.

    Wait … there’s a pancake day?

  18. says

    This video was creepy and great at the same time. I wasn’t sure that was possible, but the more I consider it, the more true it is for a lot of German things :p

    For those who don’t know how to Google-translate, here’s the petition in English.

    @Longtime Lurker (#13): Yeah, had me thinking of T-Rex too. Marc Bolan is teh sexx (and I’m straight).

    @Ben Bruer (#14): I don’t care about the date of Evolutionstag as long as there’s beer and it makes it to the US!
    @Alethias (#8): Awesome.
    @386sx (#20): Yeah, except for the arm-flapping, that’s literally what they believe. Classic art usually depicts the J-man on a cloud or something. Nutty, huh?

    “Christi Himmelfahrt” made me laugh too, but then again I’ve been drinking… but then again my humor is juvenile :D

  19. Kitty'sBitch says

    Okay, if you don’t laugh at “Cristi Himmelfahrt” you don’t know how to live.
    It’s not the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles, but it’s still funny.

    I thought the song was awful and adorable at the same time.

  20. mikecbraun says

    @ halcy #16:
    Thanks for the lesson. I now have another piece of German slang to share with my wife, along with “Blas mir einen.” Don’t know if I spelled that right (and don’t worry, she thinks it’s funny, too). Now she can be invited to ride the ol’ sleigh as well. Can this be used in the spring?
    P.S. What a dirty old man I’ve become, looking at what I have typed on this thread…

  21. Carole says

    I disagree that the song is horrible; it has some sick beats, and the synthesizer gives it class! I shall add it to the running play list on my ipod and rock it everywhere possible.

  22. Alan Macdonald says

    When I first read your blog entry I had this case of cognitive dissonance (but don’t we all when dealing with new age and religious crap). Hmmmm “himmel”, where have I heard that German term before?

    “Gott in himmel”, then it hit me …..

    Well worth the minute or so of giggling like a little girl ….

  23. Equisetum says

    Okay, if you don’t laugh at “Cristi Himmelfahrt” you don’t know how to live.

    Or you’ve just lived in Germany too long. It took me a a couple seconds to figure out what was funny.

    As for the change, I’m for it, as long as they don’t take our Feiertag away. Most of the holidays in Bavaria are religious.

  24. DaveH says

    Sastra #24 wrote:

    Wait … there’s a pancake day?

    Don’t get too jealous! N’awlins and Rio get huge drunken parades full of near-nekkid people for Mardi Gras, the Brits get pancake races (people running a race while tossing pancakes in a fryingpan/ flipping them out off of a skillet [/poor US trans]

    No sex,(too cold) but we do get violence

  25. "wacky, madcap German" says

    “Can anyone explain why this is a German effort, but the sone on the video is in English?”

    Because we germans are quite used to Music being sung in english. Even loads of german musicians are singing in english — otherwise obviously nowhere else in the world anyone would care about them. The same is true in this case: A solely german campagne is unlikely to generate awareness or spinoffs anywhere else.

    Did anyone read the final credits? Music, lyrics, vocals: Michale Schmidt-Salomon. A well known figure in the german speaking secular community. Just search for his book “Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism: A Plea for a Contemporary Culture” or the Giordano Bruno Foundation…

  26. Timelord says

    The Germans have a way with compound words. Himmelfahrt literally means ‘Sky Ride’. (Try putting Himmel fahrt into Google Translate). Another memorable word is Büstenhalter which means bra and is way more functionally descriptive. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of doing an exchange with a German family when I was at school and I’m still in touch with them some 30 years later. Incidentally, last time I visited them they asked me if I had been over to that ‘Crazy Country’ referring to the USA of course.

  27. says

    Damnit! I was going to write almost exactly DaveH’s response to Sastra. Cariocas aren’t doing the street thing for Mardi Gras though, they are doing it for Carnaval, totally different (just look at the spelling).

  28. Micke says

    Does being German preclude you from writing music lately? That’s the most horrible choppy not-a-tune I’ve ever heard. The half-assed singing doesn’t make it any better.
    The PCR-song is way better.

  29. says

    From the diairies of Samuel Pepys, 16th May 1662:

    Damning my wig, the French cur look’d at me quizzically and ask’d my name. Without batting an eyelid I replied “Christi Himmelfahrt” and this appear’d to calm the fool somewhat.

    100% of TRUTH, or strike me down dead with the wrath of the non-existant deity of your choice.

  30. ppb says

    Maria has her own Himmelfahrt, which is a holiday in the more Catholic south. I wonder if they will try and rename that too?

  31. Anonymous Coward says

    I’ve got quite some really good German music in my playlist, most of it by Reinhard Mey, but I have to agree that this particular video clip was one of the worst examples of bubblegum-without-a-tune I’ve heard in ages.
    Can those of you who say you did enjoy it explain to me why? I really don’t get it and I’m curious.

  32. shonny says

    While you’re in there, check what the Germans think about Michele Obama’s dress-sense! Think they kinda approve.

    BTW, in Norwegian it is Kristi himmelfart, where hopefully some one was thinking in English while making that name for the non-event.
    But at least it is a day off work.

  33. Kenn says

    Granted in german it isn’t funny, but the anglophone in me is snickering at the name of the holiday.

    Sounds almost like the name of a female cartoon character with poor bodily control.

  34. inge says

    ppb #41: Maria has her own Himmelfahrt, which is a holiday in the more Catholic south. I wonder if they will try and rename that too?

    Where I am it’s Hick Shopping Day. Because everone in the cities has to go to work, while all of the backcountry has a holiday.

  35. Rey Fox says

    Brock: I noticed a lot of that sentiment when I was looking up a page to link to, but I’ve always preferred “You’d Prefer An Astronaut”. Nothing on “Downward” can match the first four songs of “Astronaut”.