I’m pleased to say that I am the first May hostess of Fashion Flash.
It’s always a special month and I thought, I start by telling you about a tradition to celebrate the 1st of May in Germany.
A German May tradition: Der Maibaum
It’s the 1st of May and therefore time for a tradition which dates back as far as the 16th century. All over the south of Germany, but in other parts of the country as well, rural communities get ready for the celebrations revolving around a tree: the Maibaum or May tree.
Traditionally it’s the village square where a specially selected tree, often a birch and sometimes up to 15 or more meters high, is ‘planted’. The Maibaum symbolizes a lot of things: the arrival of summer, fertility, unity, rural pride and even love.
As you will see, a lot of traditions, customs, superstitions and, of course, celebrations evolve around the Maibaum. Once selected, the tree needs to be decorated. In many parts, the bark is removed. Why? To eliminate beetles or other insects which may hide behind the rind. These creatures are considered evil spirits which would only bring misfortune to the place where the Maibaum is erected.
In Bavaria, the trunk is painted blue and white, then adorned with hand crafted often very valuable figures, ribbons and, most importantly, the green and flower crown at the top.
First festivity is to parade the Maibaum around the village, accompanied with music and…this is Germany, remember… rivers of beer and mountains of sausage. It takes a lot of locals to carry the heavy tree around and even more to finally put the thing up. Traditionally this was done by the strongest guys with ropes and sheer muscle power, but nowadays machines such as cranes help to anchor it securely.
And here is another rather funny custom to do with the Maibaum: theft. Believe it or not, it’s a sport, a tradition and well regulated. It’s also absolutely not against the law, provided the thieves play by the rules. The Maibaum is guarded and as long as one of the guards has a hand on the tree, it isn’t permitted to steal it. Therefore, potential thieves revert to cunning to distract the guards and to make off with their prize.
The purpose? To initiate negotiations with the thieves to get the tree back. Successful negotiations include more and even vaster amounts of beer and food, happily consumed by both parties.
If for some reason negotiations fail, the tree is erected as a trophy in the village where it has been carried to and the loser is shamed. Bad luck for that particular village and good luck for the thives.
Another variation has to do with love. Small Maibaums are often placed by young guys at the house of the love of their life. If they are lucky and the lady in question lkes them, they are rewarded with a kiss and, of course, more beer and food.
All month long, dancing, singing and general merry making revolves around the Maibaum..until the following year.
And now let’s see what my lovely fellow FF bloggers have to recommend you this week.
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Allison from Never Say Die Beauty:
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Allison from Never Never Say Die Beauty, suggests the gift of instant relaxation with the beautifully packages, fragrant bath bombs plus FB giveaway and coupon code to save on your purchase.
Marcia Friedman of Beauty Info Zone:
Adults should use skincare created for them since not all skincare is created equally. A serum made from all natural ingredients like farm grown jojoba is great for those of us over 40.
MaryLou Floys of Secondlivesclub
Janise Burrafato of mamainheels:
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