Thursday 1 May 2014

Munich May Day

1 May is a state holiday in Germany and is called “Tag der Arbeit” (in English “Labour Day”). To celebrate this, there are many demonstrations by independent workers’ organisations throughout Germany.
Can you tell where everyone rubs for luck?!
It’s also ‘May Day’ where, particularly in the German countryside, celebrations are held the night before. These include bonfires, fireworks and the wrapping of the Maibaum (maypole).

Whilst maypole are often a permanent feature in towns, in some cases it is put up specifically for this festival which dates back to the 16th century, usually combined with a village fete on 30 April or 1 May. The tradition remains very strong in the Bavarian Alps villages with large celebrations. The maypole is typically painted blue and white (the Bavarian colours) and decorated with symbols representing local crafts and industry. Usually there is a procession through the village, accompanied by a brass band.

Knowing this, I excitedly headed down to Munich’s main square to see what was happening and was disappointed to find that there was only a workers’ rally.

So I popped round to the maypole in the market, but again nothing.

I consoled myself with a delicious sweet nut pretzel.

And decided that next year, I would head to an Alpine village to see the full celebrations.

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