Thursday, May 3, 2012

Erster Mai... Happy May Day!

Since the first of May is Labor Day in Germany, there was no class, and I got to stay an extra day in Amsterdam (blog to come later)! But I just wanted to quickly share the cute traditions that they have here! May 1st is also an older holiday where the Germans welcome in springtime. 

People used to believe that witches and ghosts could more easily enter the world on this night. My Czech friends told me that their tradition is to make a small witch out of paper or something, and then burn it in significance of burning away the winter and welcoming in the spring. Some Germans also follow that tradition. Most commonly known is the German May Pole. A large pole with multiple ribbons will be set up in the middle of the village, and the townspeople will celebrate, and wind the ribbons around it. Since I live in western Germany, in a pretty good sized city, there was sadly no May Pole as far as I know. 

BUT, when I got home I saw these cute little decorated trees everywhere! Tied to light posts, buildings, and even the top of a dead tree (that one was my favorite).  

You can't really see the actual tree in the picture, but there is a small white birch tied to that light post. 

They were the cutest things ever! During the night before Erster Mai (May Day), German boys/men will go and cut a small white birch (usually about 5 feet tall or so), and decorate its branches with colorful streamers (But not white! Apparently that signifies dislike). They then go and tie the tree in secret to the house of the girl they love/wish to marry. Some boys get really clever with it; as I said before, I saw one tied to the top of a giant dead tree. 

Since I didn't have my camera on me when I saw most of them, I wasn't able to capture any more pictures other than the ones above, so I took the photo below from this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment