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May Traditions in Germany. By Greta Brigitte. Spring Festivals. Tournaments and jousting! Way to go, Franconians! 8 th century. Parades since 13 th century.

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may traditions in germany

May Traditions in Germany

By Greta Brigitte

spring festivals
Spring Festivals
  • Tournaments and jousting! Way to go, Franconians! 8th century. Parades since 13th century.
  • Celebrating the “strength and fertility of the earth” and the coming of Spring. Pre Christian celebrations of the Celtic tribes and Romans
  • Walpurgisnacht came from such traditions…
walpurgisnacht st walburga
WalpurgisnachtSt. Walburga

St. Walburga: came from England in the 8th century to spread Christianity.

  • Born in 710 in Devonshire to Saxon King St. Richard and St. Wuna. Sister to St. Winebald (Abbot of Heidenheim) and St. Willibald (Bishop of Eichstätt). Niece to St Boniface (Archbishop of Mainz).
  • Became a nun at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, where she had been educated for 26 years
  • 748- 750: A German invasion.
st walburga pt 2
St. Walburgapt 2…
  • Eventually became Abbess
  • at Heidenheim, and also of
  • her brother’s monastery
  • after his death. Appointed
  • by Willibald.
  • May 1st: Saint day.
  • Canonized after her death
  • in 779. Her feast day is
  • February 25th.
  • Buried at Heidenheim, but her body was moved
  • around 870 to Eichstätt , next to St. Winibald.
walpurgisnacht pt 3 the night of the witches
Walpurgisnachtpt 3…“the night of the witches”

“Worshipped, then gazed at timidly, then reviled… Women of the woods/ goddesses to priestesses to female doctors to ‘women of the night.’”

  • Mt. Brocken:
    • “Das Haus der Hexen und der Teufels.”
    • Mist and clouds…spooky. “Brocken specter”: shadows create unique effects due to fog.
    • April 30th: Tradition says witches gather here, the highest peak (1142 m) in the Harz Mtns.
walpurgisnacht pt 4 present day
Walpurgisnachtpt. 4… present day
  • Halloween!
    • Started “witches bonfires,” or “may bonfires” to keep the witches away.
  • Festivals in almost all the villages in the Harz mountains
    • Locals dressing up as witches with brooms and all
    • A big attraction since reunification, more than 20,000 visitors for many of the towns
  • Thale
    • Legend says witches began here to ride to the Mt. Brocken peak.
    • 1901: Walpurgis hall built
    • Dance, Dance! Above the town?
may day
May Day!

May 1st: a day of maypoles, parades, dancing, and a May king and queen. “Customs vary from region to region, sometimes even village to village.”

may day pt 2 maibaum
May Day!Pt. 2…Maibaum
  • Birchwood, but spruce as well if a taller pole is needed.
  • Decorations: Gold crests, wreaths

and ribbons.

  • Responsibility goes to local

associations. There’s dancin’

and singin’ and weavin’….

  • “In honor of an unmarried girl living there.” Ahhh, young love…
may day pt 3 an auction
May Day!Pt 3…an auction?
  • Rhine (area of): Tradition since 1500.
    • Girls’ names are announced for bachelors to bet
    • May King and Queen: The bachelor who bets the most and his girl. They are presented at Pentecost or at a parade on May 1st
  • Bavaria:
    • The Maypole scramble separates the men from the boys…the King picks his Queen.
from a poet s love by heinrich heine
From A Poet’s Loveby Heinrich Heine

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai

Als alle Knospen sprangen,

Da ist in meinem Herzen

die Liebe aufgegangen.

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,

Als alle Vögel sangen,

Da hab, ich ihr gestanden

mein Sehnen und Verlangen.

works cited
Works Cited