"Maibaum - The May Tree" Germany Local Custom Tip by Kathrin_E
Germany Local Customs: 316 reviews and 355 photos
May is the month of young leaves and fresh green - or used to be, with the recent climate changes the trees are already green by mid April. Nevertheless a lot of May customs and decorations involve twigs with fresh leaves.
In some regions, mostly in the south, a Maibaum (May tree) is put up in the middle of the village. It consists of a big tree trunk with a small green tree attached to the top, often a fir wreath, colourful ribbons, wood-carved figures, and the signs of local clubs and firms who joined in the preparations resp. donated the beer.
The Maibaum is erected in the evening of April 30. This event involves the whole village, the official tapping of the first beer barrel and usually a lot more beer.
Villagers keep watch of their own tree and try to get their hands onto someone else's. Having their May tree felled and robbed is the worst shame that could happen to a community, and the greatest triumph for the robbers, usually the young guys (and girls) from a neighbouring village. The victims may not have a tree for the following seven years.
In the 2008 opening parade of the Plärrer festival in Augsburg, which took place in August(!), the "Hainhofener May Tree Robbers" still proudly presented their prey (see photos).
Lessons from today's news, May 1, 2009: If you plan to rob a May tree, take a saw that is strong enough. In a village in our surroundings some guys tried to fell a May tree last night but their saw got stuck and they had to call the fire brigade for help.
Oh the embarrassment...
In other words: Bwahahahaha!
In some areas the guys also put up small decorated birch trees in the gardens of their favourite girls (photo 4).
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