Thursday, 30 April 2009

May Day is LOVE day

If you wander the streets tonight you might catch a very German tradition in progress.

Tomorrow is May Day and it's traditional to stick a "Mai Baum" (May Tree) outside the one you loves house. It used to be a proclamation of love from someone unknown - you'd wake up, see a May Tree stuck in your front garden - and think "Hmmm - who could it be?". These days everyone gets in on it - school kids, young lovers, even married couples - it's almost a German Valentine's Day.

Traditionally a young silver birch tree is decorated with ribbons or streamers and then attached to the front of the house of the "intended" - these days you'll see them attached to balconies, window boxes and even planted in street flower beds. The main thing is that it has to be secretive - the intended should not know who the tree is from. You might also see huge garish hearts with the loved ones name on.

As the picture shows - attaching the trees can be a little tricky - would-be romeos have to scale walls, climb balconies, abseil down the side of buildings etc. which could make for a very interesting stroll tonight.

Don't worry, it's not too late to get yours - they sell them ready decorated at the Baumarkt and in the interests of research (of course) I found this: www.maibaumtaxi.de - a taxi that will deliver an anonymous May Tree for you!

Edit: Post take-over alert! Sorry Inselaffe, I couldn't resist adding this image I took of Mai Baum excess.

So if you ever wondered why there are dead trees, decorated with fading streamers attached to gutters around the city - now you know.