I won't write a post on the history of May Day because there is plenty of information that is searchable with those two words. It's a historic day and has contained various significance over the centuries, including the communist cry for the worker and Hitler's Tempelhof rally/his death. I wanted to insert a little bit of lightheartedness and personal for the day instead of all those historical facts. Pretty sure that's going to be covered with great frequency. Who's ready to learn about a May Day tradition?
(I do want to apologize for the delay/absence in content--I do this in my spare time and I haven't had much of that lately.)
May Day is a good time in Germany. Germans have a tradition of putting up "Maibäume" (May trees). As you may have read in the About section, I did three months of field research in a small town called Lütte. I could go on and on about this town of 500 people, but I'll be brief. The town retains much of its rural character though Berlin transplants are about as common as born and bred locals, some of whom were collective farmers. Traditional celebrations are still ongoing and the Maibaum is certainly one of them! I don't remember there being a parade through town (there aren't that many streets anyway...), but on Am Lütter Bach (Bahnhofstraße), right by the church, they dug a deep ditch and used multiple stilts to raise up the tree.
There are nearby towns (Dippmansdorf, Schwanebeck, and Fredersdorf)
that also have their own Maibaum and all of them are competing for the
tallest Maibaum. It's a sort of civic pride to have the biggest Maibaum around. They are erected during some drinking and eating and
always on a lawn near the road (so you can compare their heights,