My husbands family came out to visit the last week of April and First week of May. We were able to play tourist (which I really like to do) and took them all over Germany and even to France! The day before we drove to France we were walking through town to grab some dinner. We ended up at Fischer's for food (delicious as always) and afterward decided to walk up to Paulaner since they hadn't seen it yet and it's a popular place in town. Upon walking up we noticed there was a LOT of activity going on. As it turned out, the day before May is a big celebration in most of the towns. May 1 is the Labor Day holiday here (and is the same throughout most of Europe) and is generally considered a working class holiday.
They raise the Maypole, which is a big decorated log that I heard sits a little higher each year. There is a ceremony for the raising of the Maypole, with song and dance included. I'm not sure exactly what the Maypole symbolizes. Some people speculate it is from an old Pagan ritual, while others claim it has to do with the German's viewing trees as sacred. Either way it's another reason to celebrate, dance, drink and be merry.
So we were delighted that we had stumbled upon this event going on in the square near Paulaner. The afternoon quickly turned into night as we had a few hefeweizen's and enjoyed the festivities. Paulaner had a live band inside and it was packed! Later after we paid our tab and were walking back to our place, we were stopped by all of our neighbors hanging out having drinks around a large table. As a side we have a table the sits in front of our house and serves as the community area. There is a children's play area and a ping pong table as well. They were having a great time celebrating their day off so we decided to join in. This is another thing I love about Germany. Most people are very friendly and open. Our neighbors are very nice to us and most of them speak English. Some try to help me out with my German, but it usually doesn't last too long because I am still fairly limited in speaking German. I understand more and more each week, but speaking it is another thing completely.
I was so happy we were able to add yet another unique German activity to the growing list of things that we did when TJ's family was here.
For more information on German Holidays Click Here.