Celebrate Spring with Mayfest, Maybock and Maybowle

It’s just as well that the month of May has 31 days; there’s a lot to fit into it, especially in the beginning.

Let’s start with Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis night), a spring festival celebrated on the eve of April 30th, when witches are alleged to await the arrival of spring on Brockenberg, the highest peak in the Harz mountain range in northern Germany. Also in the night of April 30, especially in the regions along the Rhine river, young men place a decorated birch tree in front of their beloved maiden’s window as a symbol of courtship and male prowess.

The “dance around the maypole” on May 1 is a widely celebrated festival to welcome spring all over Europe. Marked by bonfires, dancing and the consumption of the traditional Maibowle (May punch) also known as Waldmeisterbowle, Maiwein or Maitrank, a refreshing blend of white wine, sparkling wine (or mineral water) and wild woodruff, this festival is a lot of fun for young and old. Many US and Canadian towns celebrate Mayfest as well. May 1, is,  of course, International Workers Day, known in Germany as the  national holiday “Tag der Arbeit, ” while the Roman Catholics celebrate this as Saint Joseph, the patron saint of workers, craftsmen and immigrants.

It’s likely that workers, young folks and Mayfest celebrants will enjoy a clear, clean beer, brewed according to the German Beer Purity Law  of 1516. Ah yes, it’s the 500th anniversary this year, starting on April 23. Well then, lift the Maybock glasses and a “Prost” to May! more »

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