Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lost in Translation

Today is a holiday in Germany. It's important to be aware of these things because all businesses are closed on holidays (a far cry from being able to run to the store Thanksgiving morning for those last minute odds and ends or hitting the mall for Memorial Day sales) and we're simply out of luck if we need anything.

I asked my German neighbor what this particular holiday is for and she told me it is Christi Himmelfahrt - or - as she translated to English - "the day the Jesus Christ drove to the sky".

We have grown accustomed to the use of the word "fahren" for more than just driving a car. In German, you drive your bike, you drive your snow skis, you drive an airplane, etc., etc., etc. Basically the word for drive applies to just about any scenario in which you move regardless of the vehicle - with the exception of your own two feet.

They also put "the" in front when referring to a person by name. So, "Wo ist der Steve?" literally translates "Where is the Steve?" which is always good for a laugh.

So when my neighbor explained to me the reason for the holiday I simply smiled and said "Oh, Ascension Day!"

This is not a day that usually hits my radar of important anniversaries but from now on it will always be, for me, "the day the Jesus Christ drove to the sky".


The Binkley Family said...

Wow. That is so interesting. I had never even put that date to paper to figure out when it was! So neat!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

That's a hilarious translation!!!! It cracked me up!