Saccharomyces cerevisiae spore germination is the process in which dormant spores resume growth. Upon exposure to glucose and other essential nutrients, the spore gradually loses its spore characteristics and starts acquiring properties of a vegetative cell. Translation and transcription are initiated early in the germination process. Global gene expression analysis has revealed that germination can be divided into two stages prior to the first cell cycle. During the first stage, the transcriptional programme resembles the general response of yeast cells to glucose. During the second stage, the spores sense and respond also to other nutrients than glucose. In addition, genes involved in conjugation are upregulated in germinating spores and mating is initiated before the first mitotic cell cycle. Here, we review the current understanding of the cellular rearrangements and the genes and proteins involved in germination.