Maibaum – May Tree Celebration in Germany

I think everyone has heard of the May tree somewhere in their life. If you’re anything like me you don’t have a clue what the heck the May tree is or what it’s purpose is. I’m here to explain that to you – as I’m learning about it as well!

Der Maibaum – The May Tree

The whole idea is to raise a may pole on May 1st to welcome spring. A may pole is a large tree trunk of a pine or birch but without the branches. On top of the may pole is a small pine tree decorated with ribbons, figurines, or other decorative things that are specific to the town.

So far, each town I’ve been through whether small or large has a May tree up and they are pretty cool once you see them. Really tall. Most towns have a big festival to follow the rising of the pole and this includes singing, dancing, and of course eating/drinking.

This is all grand however the fun part of the May tree is this:

May tree also stands not only for Spring but for LOVE! The story goes that if a young boy/man likes another girl/woman he will decorate a tree with colored ribbons and the like and then he will put it on the top of her roof in the middle of the night before May 1st as a surprise. The dude then leaves it up for one month and when he returns to take it down, if the girl likes him back, she will invite him to dinner, give him a cake, a case of beer, or if he’s reallllllly lucky – a kiss.

If it’s unrequited love? Well, that sucks for the guy. He wasted his time, energy, and craftiness for nothing. I’m waiting for my May Tree on the roof but Toblerone has confirmed that this could cause quite a scandal in this little town we live in. That would mean that I’m clearly having an affair. The May Tree on the roof of your home would only mean that another man is looking for my affection. Since I’m not married and/or ENGAGED (hint hint!) then I expect a May tree. NOW.

Happy Spring and Happy May!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

5 thoughts on “Maibaum – May Tree Celebration in Germany

  1. I like how they have their Liederhosen on for the festival and the rising of the pole. Very unique. Interesting customs there.

  2. Nice post! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking of explaining this tradition to my non-German boyfriend – your post is a good start!
    Here is one more fact about the Maibaum tradition you might be interested in: It is common that guys from one town try to steal the Maibaum from another town before it is erected. In order to get it back the town usually has to give huge amounts of beer to the other town. To prevent all this, the Maibaum is usually guarded during the nights by a couple of guys. But of course, sometimes guards fall asleep… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I’m writing a book/booklet on the history of the Maypole in Holywood, Co Down, Northern Ireland. Is there any way you could give me permission to make use of one or perhaps two of your fabulous pictures? (The Christmas Tree on a pole and the raising of the Maypole by gentlemen in Lederhosen).

    You may be interested to know I help organise our annual May Fair where we have maypole dancing (with ribbons). The Holywood Maypole is now the only real Maypole in Ireland. Your pictures give a glimpse of what Maypoles in Ireland used to be.

    I’d be glad if you also tell me where the Lederhosen-clad men are doing their maypole-raising.

    With good wishes

    Tony Buckley

    • Hi Tony, the picture in this post was just from the Internet. I have pictures in the Karneval posts showing them putting up a tree in the middle of the town but itโ€™s not the maypole. Sorry I couldnโ€™t help further! Good luck with your book!

      • Thanks for the message. I’m in the throes of finding copyright holders for pictures. It’s a lot of work, but publishers are very dreary in that they insist on me obeying the law. I’m getting there, but it’s harder work than doing the research.

        Best wishes

        Tony Buckley

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