Dance into May

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Up late on a Tuesday? If you’re young and can rally the next day, or just one of those types who can get by on little sleep, join your German neighbors in welcoming spring with the traditional festivities that kick off the warm (read: fun) months of the year.

The event we have in mind is Tanz in den Mai, or Dance into May. This event on the eve of May 1 is a time of celebration for the young and young and heart, who will gather in droves at a variety of venues across the land. If you presently live in a village, the local venue hosting a party on this night of nights might include the local athletics club or the town’s most popular watering hole. In cities, the party’s just as likely to take place in a club, brewery or even the central square.

The April 30 date coincides with another occasion, Walpurgis Night.  According to pagan beliefs, on this night, witches would gather on The Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountain range in northern Germany. There, the witches would dance around a raging fire and worship the devil as part of a ritual to renew their terrible magical powers.  With some luck, the place you choose to pitch your party tent might just include a bonfire too.  While dancing around its flames is unlikely to give you any uncanny knack to set a curse upon your rival, jumping over its embers hand in hand with a new flame is reputed to get a new relationship off on the right foot.

In some communities, this is also a night of mischief akin to the pranks people typically get up to on Halloween. So it might not be a bad thing to bring in your prized doormat or garden elves, just in case.

On May 1, when most Americans are trudging off to work, the host nation will be sleeping in. While May 1 is officially known as  “Tag der Arbeit,” most of the population shrugs off politically motivated activities such as demonstrations for workers’ rights in favor of a day spent out in nature in the company of friends and family. Should the weather cooperate, hiking, picnics and backyard barbeques will be the order of the day.  So while our Labor Day signifies the end of the summer season, here, it’s only the beginning.  

Up for some fun this Tuesday night? See below for a quick sampling of what’s going on close to several U.S. bases. (Age restrictions  apply.)

Hettenrodt: this community northwest of Idar-Oberstein goes all out with its Hexenrock party featuring several regional bands on stage. Entry costs 38 euros at the gate. The party’s on from 7 p.m. in a heated tent at the Sportgelände des TV Hettenrodt, Hohlstraße 18, 55758 Hettenrodt.

Kaiserslautern:  Erfenbach-KL’s Kreuzsteinhalle is the site of a “Hexenrock in den Mai” party hosted by TuS Erfenbach from 8 p.m.

Kaiserslautern:  Luther Club plans to take partygoers back in time with its 90er Party featuring music of the 90s. Doors open at 10 p.m., and admission costs 7 euros.  The club is located at Martin-Luther-Str. 8.

Mainz-Kastel:  Brauhaus Castel celebrates the night with the tapping of a special Maibock beer and sounds of Bavarian music performed by the duo Zwoa Spitzbaum.  The fun starts at 7 p.m., and entry is free.

Stuttgart: the LKA Longhorn hosts a Walpurgisnacht party with DJ music from the 80s. The party starts at 9 p.m. at the club located at Heiligenwiesen 6, 70327 Stuttgart.  Entry costs 6 euros.

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