Around The Maypole

There was a break in the clouds before church this morning, so I dashed out and grabbed a quick photo of the maypole in the market square. Seems a little hazy to me – and the rain started up again right afterward.

It’s a sign of spring that I remember from children’s stories of my childhood. Back then there were images of children dancing around the pole, holding onto ribbons that were ties to the top. It was a European thing – we didn’t do anything like that in Canada!

I don’t know if they dance in Sulzburg. These days it would be against pandemic restrictions. In previous years I have not been home on May 1, so while I have seen the pole going up on April 30, I have not seen what festivities were attached to the day itself

It seems as if all the small German towns celebrate May Day in this fashion. Maybe the xities too. And they’ve been doing so for hundreds of years, or more. Wikipedia tells me it started, perehaps, in the Iron Age.

In Sulzburg the maypole is the shorn remnants of the Christmas tree that adorned the square in December. I think it is probably the same in other villages. Makes sense if you can get more than one use out of the tree – and i don’t think they could keep it green from one Christmas to another.

The pole stays up here the entire month of May. Unless there are exceptional circumstances. A coupleof years ago some birds chose to nest in the maypole, so it styed up until the young were old enough to leave the nest.

A my time living in Germany is drawing to an end I find myself drawn even more to bits of local color and culture. There are many things I won’t miss when I no longer live here – but there is something endearing about the folk festivals.

With the pandemic it has been a year or more since I have been able to take part in any of them in the tradtional form, but there were some good memories forged in the first couple of years i lived here. COVID-19 can’t tke those away.


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