Last Saturday was May 1st. I do not remember this day being a big deal in America but here in Germany it is a day of celebration. Every town, small and large, hosts a festival from sun up to sun down. The idea is that all families are suppose to spend the day outside together and "Tanz in den Mai!" ("Dance into May!"). May 1st is also celebrated my the presenting of the Maypole. Most towns have at least one may pole near the center of town. These poles are beautiful and are covered with large streams of multi colored ribbons. The tradition is that if a boy likes a girl he shows her this by going out the night before May 1st and cutting down a small tree in the forest. He then removes all of the branches, ties ribbons to the top and delivers it to her by placing it in her garden. During Leap year it is the responsibility of the female to place the Maypole in the yard of the male that she is interested in. It was a lot of fun to walk around Erlangen and other surrounding towns looking at all of the beautiful Maypoles.
The night before May Day we heard a lot about a festival that was taking place on top of a mountain about 30 minutes away. We decided to travel up the mountain on Saturday to experience our first May Day festival. After a morning of shopping the local flea markets (which would put most flea markets in the US to shame) we jumped on a train and headed to Forcheim. Once in Forcheim we met up with a few other friends and decided to tackle that mountain. We were not sufficiently warned for what we were about to face. Since this was a family festival we were under the impression that the hike up would be a leisurely one, this was not the case. It took us a little over an hour to huff and puff it up the side of the mountain, and we were moving pretty quickly. Once we made it to the top it was all worth it. The entire top of the mountain was covered with May poles, games, rides for kids and food vendors. People were spread out on blankets all over the mountain enjoying the gorgeous views and incredible smells. We had a wonderful time!
A view from the top: