Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hexenacht (Witches Night)

We had a lovely time at the restaurant and boarded the train to come back to Aimee and Jason's house.
We disembarked and started our quick walk home.
When we saw these boys we were reminded it was HEXENACHT in Germany.

Originally called Freinacht (free evening), it is held on the night of April 30th into the wee hours of the morning on May 1st.
 I heard it was used by young people to contribute to the Maypole when it first started. Nothing was off limits, if you were silly enough to leave anything outside, it would be taken.  I once left a huge pot of flowers on my front steps and found it near the Maypole in the center of the village, along with other neighbor's lawn chairs, bicycles, grills, and a garden gate. If the town was really lucky you might find another village's Maypole.
The good news, you always knew where to find your stuff!

 It is popular to wrap trees, cars or houses with toilet paper.  You might find your doorknobs and cars sprayed with shaving cream or vaseline. Our daughters favorite prank was to empty a bag of flour onto our landlords doorstep. Having had the most wonderful landlords in the world, they took it in such fun.  The girls would sneak up in the morning and watch their good-natured reactions and then offer to help them clean it up.  
Some other industrious children in the area took to holding  toilet paper across the street and charging a one Euro toll for each car that went by.
They made quite a large amount of money that way.
That was popular in Rhineland-Pfalz but here in Baden-Württemberg we haven't seen that particular practice.
 The essense of the evening is meant to be harmless pranks. Of course, there are always some people, usually teenagers, that ruin things for others and commit vandelism, but normally the village people know who did it and it is quickly sorted out.
Many of the children go and help clean up their "pranks" the next day.
A night of harmless fun for the young.

Mac gives Hexenacht a thumbs up for the kids if it is a night of harmless fun!

BUT, for those that carry out vandelism on people's property that leaves damage......Mac gives you two thumbs down!

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