Saturday, May 1, 2010

April 30th/Putting up the Maypole/ Weil Im Schönbuch

May Day is a national holiday in Germany. It's been celebrated since 1919, when the German National Assembly declared a Labor Day to honor its working people. There is also another celebration held on this day which is a rite of spring for the German people. You find a Maypole, music, dancing as well as your ever present bratwursts and beer at this festival.

We went with our good friends Aimee and Jason to see the Maypole erected in their village on April 30th.  Traditionally, Maypoles are made from maple trees, but sometimes birch or hawthorn are used. Normally, these poles are decorated with shields which represent  professions within the village community.

This is where the Maypole will stand.

In some villages brut "man force" is used to put up the Maypole but, Weil im Schonbuch opted for the less traditional but much easier crane.

The men are attaching the chains that hold the rings the shields hang from.

Attaching the shields.

The Maypole is almost in place. Notice the one lone guy at the top.

The village band played some traditional "German music" and the VERY popular John Denver song
"Country Roads"
 I have never been to a German party where that song wasn't sung before the night was over. Mac and I have been to a LOT of German parties.

Typically, retired Germans will come down to start off the afternoon festivities. They will meander home as the younger ones drift into the tents to celebrate the village Maypole going up. The fun will last well into the night as the villagers may also try to steal another town's Maypole.  They will leave men protecting their Maypole and some brave and possibly inebriated souls will usually venture out to steal a neighboring village's pole.  If they are successful the village victimized must offer kegs of beer for it's safe return. The next day the villagers will come out for more May Day celebrations.

Mac gave our afternoon a thumbs up.  We continued on to Holzgerlingen where we ate at the fabulous
Alter Bahnhof Restaurant.
I will blog about that tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment