Spring has finally arrived here in Germany! Not only has the bitter cold given way to warm(ish) hazy days but there is also a day to welcome the delightful time of year when bright tulips bloom…May Day!
So I don’t know about you but the extent of my knowledge of this day basically boils down to glittery flowery crafts done in wee elementary school years and it involved fake paper baskets of fake paper flowers to bring home to our parents.
The whole maypole thing also puzzles me. And to be honest the only reason I knew you dance around it is from an episode of Mad Men. You know…where Don falls for Susie’s teacher? I wish I looked so graceful, a halo around my hair as small children and I danced around the pole…. I digress.
Anyways, May Day and may baskets and maypoles are all legit here in Germany. Each village usually has its own pole in the village square. The colorful streamers blow gently in the breeze. As to an actual maypole dance I hear it is true but I can’t confirm nor deny this as I was blissfully snoozing that particular sunny morning. Not really. I have two small children, which seems to be a better excuse as to why I can’t get anywhere on time.
Now I also learned that there is a sinister side to May Day. On the night of April 30th, or Hexennacht, it is quite common for children (or drunk teenagers might be more appropriate) to pull pranks. Usually they are harmless and usually involve stringing colorful crepe paper into a tree. Oh so you have no tree so you must be off the hook? Think again. I hear that some poor saps have found a tree strung up to their house just for the occasion. This may be an extreme case though. Word on the street is that some pranksters don’t even bother with supplies and hop on to a tractor and blast techno (complete with light display) and slowly cruise the streets at 3am. GUTEN TAG! Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss.
NOTE that this tree is not growing in the sidewalk. It is strung up to the side of the house. Ha!
What’s the point of these shenanigans you may ask? Well I asked and apparently it is to chase away the winter demons. So thank you to all that got punked, your sacrifices have allowed me to basque in the warm sunlight and gaze upon fields of gold.
Springtime in Germany is certainly a special time of year.