Beware ... witches make things disappear the night before May 1

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
German Labor Day is May 1 in Germany. Prior to the federal holiday, people in the Eifel observe a number of local traditions.

The most common symbol for the holiday is the May pole, a symbol of freedom. Every community in the region has their own tree, usually set up by members of the local fire departments the afternoon of April 30. Since the May pole is also an object of prestige for a town, it must be guarded around the clock the night before, in order to protect it from theft or destruction by the enemy.

Another tradition is "Hexennacht," where the so called "witches," known to be the youngsters in town, make things disappear in one spot and show up somewhere else. It has happened in the past that the witches picked up patio furniture at one person's house, moving it into the next-door neighbors front yard or on the house roof. Very popular items to disappear are flower pots, trash cans and door mats. While it is rather difficult to prevent things from appearing in your front yard, following witches night, it is fairly easy to make sure nothing disappears when moving things inside the house for the night.

Also, don't be surprised if you find your car decorated with toilet paper or other items.
Germany observes the Labor Day or May Day with a variety of different customs and traditions but it is fairly common to either go on May walks or spend the day with friends and family, hosting barbecues.