1st of May is coming, but so are Germany’s unique traditions!

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1st of May

On 1st May each year, Germany celebrates wonderful traditions that have accumulated over the years. Obviously, celebrating these traditions also comes in hand with beer, dance and partying.

One of the traditions consists of a group of locals putting up something similar to a Christmas tree. In this case, it is the May Tree, also known as the ‘Maibaum.’ It is normally decorated with flowers, crafts and colorful streamers. On the day, this huge ‘tree’ is erected and the people of Bavaria together with others celebrate this pagan ritual. The tradition involves another exciting part, where the locals have to steal the Maibaum of another town or city. In some areas, locals are also challenged to climb the tree.

Another tradition includes literally partying from April 30th until the next day, sometimes followed also by the day after.  The locals know it as, Tanz in den Mai, which basically means to dance into May.

The next tradition includes witches and devils! The witches of Harz go to the mountains to ‘revel with the Devil’. Or at least that how the story goes. On this day, women in the area dress as witches and spend a night atop the Harz mountains partying, drinking and dancing. This tradition goes along with the similar one called the Maifeuer.  This means the May fire and basically includes people jumping over bonfires or lighting wooden figures on fire to ward off any evil-doers.

Another tradition is international workers’ day.  This tradition is newer than the others and originally started in 1987 due to workers protesting for labor rights and injustices. On that day, the protests and riots were so strong the police had to retreat the area for several hours. Nowadays, this turned more into a large street party rather than a protest and mainly consists of dancing, drinking and partying.

Have a great 1st of May!

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