Find out about witches, singing and dancing …

Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night) is the night from 30 April to 1 May. Legend has it that on this night, witches hold a festival on the Blocksberg mountain to await the arrival of spring.

People throughout Germany use this occasion to welcome the beginning of May and warmer weather. There is usually lots of singing and dancing.

Some people light May bonfires to chase away all the ‘evil spirits’ of winter.

Regional celebrations

  • In northern Germany, many people dress up as witches and celebrate on the Blocksberg mountain.
  • In the Rhineland, in the west of Germany, boys decorate birch branches with ribbons and secretly put them up outside their girlfriends’ houses.
  • In southern Germany, many towns and villages put up a Maibaum (‘May tree’) – a pole or tree, decorated with ribbons.

Did you know ..?

  • The Blocksberg is the highest peak of Northern Germany, in the Harz mountain range.
  • Superstitious people believe that if you put a broomstick upside down near your house door it will protect you and your family from evil spirits.
  • In Germany it is common to drink ‘Maibowle’ (May punch) on Walpurgisnacht. Its made of fresh sweet woodruff and wine. Woodruff is a herb which grows in the forests of northern Europe. People also mix it with juice or lemonade to make a tasty punch for kids.

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der Mai May
das Feuer fire
der Berg mountain
der Besen broom
die Hexe witch
der Frühling spring
der Baum tree
abergläubisch superstitious