Just as I put on my jacket, my colleagues shouted at me, as their usual routine : “Schönen Feierabend!”
and I shouted back ” Gleichfalls! Endlich Feierabend..!
Feierabend is a German word but I cannnot find an exact English word for it. If ever you encounter this word or someone say it to you, it simply means ;
End of work, Finally, time to enjoy and rest, or can also be So long, your work is done, go home and relax!
People normally either go home, meet a friend, sit in a Biergarten or go shopping. For some, it´s time to attend another ” Termine ” or appointments. This is the time to finally enjoy something outside work.
feiern ( nomen, or Feast, holiday) der Feierabend ( masculine in gender, the holiday, the Feast ), or synonym of Vacation, Restday ( der Urlaub) or die Freizeit( feminine Gender, meaning freetime)
Feierabend is a something that every employee here in Germany is looking forward to with great anticipation, joy, and yet the term does not really exist in many languages. Normally on Friday, as early as 12pm, most desks in offices are already empty. Just like me , a working mother who only work as part-time (or Teilzeit), my Feierabend normally starts after lunch.
Feierabend consists of the two parts Feier and Abend. Die Feier has its origin in the Latin feriae, which meant something like a day without any business activities’. So Feier is actually related to the German word die Ferien which is the holidays for students and pupils.The longest Ferien here in Bavaria is during Summer, where pupils have a maximum of 1 month & two weeks vacation.That is really many, so parents need to plan ahead of the year to divide their Urlaubstage ( Vacation days) to be able to plan who will stay with their children when schools and Kindergarten are closed.
Eine Feier is a celebration or a party and so it comes in a number of compounds nouns such as Weihnachtsfeier(Christmas party), Geburtstagsfeier (birthday party),Hochzeitsfeier (wedding reception) .
Today happens to be Friday, it´s almost weekend and I am looking forward to my “Feierabend” !
Let me share with you a really nice German word that I personally love, it´s Spaziergang. For non native German speakers like me, Google provides a simple and easy to digest definition of this word.
Spaziergang means ” a walk, taking a leisure walk ” or a ” stroll”
Etymology : Spazieren ( verb) + gang (spa*zier*gang)
Spaziergang ( M) (genitive –Spaziergangs or Spazierganges, plural – Spaziergänge)
Example when used in sentence : Viele Menschen machen am Sonntag einen Spaziergang mit ihrer Familie. / On Sunday, many people go for a walk with their families./
This morning I gazed outside the window and I saw a familiar face of one old man walking. He really takes a walk everyday, maybe 1-3 times a day and today was no exception. This is probably one of the word where I can perfectly describe my German neighbours and almost general here.They just love to be out, any time of the day, regardless of the season, in quarantine or not, people here loves to go for a walk or ” spazieren” . The other day, I was talking to some relatives in the Philippines and I have learned that they haven´t made a ” walk” for quite some time, all for various reasons. I have no time, I am too busy today, not allowed, too lazy, it´s raining, it´s hot …excuses are there and so on. Sometime its understandable, quite logical in these dire times of Pandemic. I just realized that there is really a huge difference between characters and lifestyle issues here and over there that I would not want to reiterate since its not the call of the hour.
Now back to my story about this word .Spaziergang in other places where I lived is quite different, especially when the weather is quite challenging.In Kuwait, I often take long walks along the seaside. When I was pregnant, I walked in the seashore many times just to ease my aching feet . Seaside is very famous that almost everyone knows it, you can never get lost. Its a long strip of beach , the Arabian Gulf, beaming like diamonds in a blistering 48 degrees summer heat. It´s a nice scenery there especially during mild winter days, and also on very early summer mornings as well as when we don´t have dust storms. I missed those days where the only music I hear is the waves…. I have watched the tides being low and high, calm and clear…now going to the beach for me is quite a luxury.We are surrounded now with different kind of bodies of water which is also another paradise.
Here in Germany, people loved to take leisure walks. It is really a lifestyle that stands out everywhere. When people doesn´t cycle , you know they are walking. Sometimes I feel like if you don´t get out at least an hour a day, you are commiting a sin.I watched people of all ages do this, including myself. Germans takes walks for various reasons as well, but mainly, they loved to be out.Walking along the Danube river, in a park or forests can be a daily adventure trip. Walks are used for relaxation, recreation for families, or just simply observing and thoughtful leisure…or killing time, especially on Rühetag Sonntag ( Quiet Sundays).When the sun is out, people go out and take a walk to get under the sun, having a friend beside you walking and chatting is quite extravagant.Breathing fresh air, exercising in a form of ” brisk walking” is like a common changing your ” wallpaper”. You see,walking helps you see a different backdrop from nature especially during the change of seasons. A walk in the city is totally different experience from a walk from a quiet valley or countryside. A walk done through the weekdays is probably feels different when its on weekends.Here in Bayern, its very normal to see people walking with sticks, they say it makes walking easier, although I see it more frequently with old people.
All of the above reasons, I did it all, all for the sake of ” walking”. In the early days, I would take a walk with my daughter in the stroller. In this way, I´ve got to know my new city and meet new people. Through “Spaziergang” , I have alearned to appreciate nature more, and made more pauses just to linger more with nature. It´s some kind of therapy as well. It´s a form of relaxing yourself aside from it is naturally healthy. I ´ve took a walk with my family, with friends, with my daughter, and yes, most of the time, I treasured the me-times or alone. There is a great consolation that I get when I took an early morning stroll and having a place all by myself. Most of the photos and inspiration from this Blog are the product of my daily Wandertags ( or strolling).
These photos are the ones I´ve took last week when we took a walk in the nearby town here in Ingolstadt. We were so early ( we always go out early to avoid crowds) that the trees and shrubs still have wet stems and misty. I totally got excited to take many photos and experiment with my camera.
When was the last time you took a walk? Have you enjoyed it?
Until next time friends, Stay safe and have a great week!