Monday, May 4, 2009

May Day Celebrations

April 30 and May 1 are so much more fun abroad. In Sweden, you have Sista april and Första maj, where Sista april (literally, The End of April) falls on the 30th and is basically an all-night party that leads into the 1st, which is a public holiday: International Workers' Day. In Austria, Labor Day falls on May 1st as well, and all stores and schools are closed in recognition. But more importantly, April 30th marks the day of the Maibaumaufstellen in Austria and a number of other surrounding countries. All over town, giant trees carved with various symbols, decorated with ribbons and flowers, draped in greenery, and hung with large circular wreaths are raised into the air, sometimes by hand, and sometimes with the aid of a tractor. People in traditional garb drink merrily and dance around the May Pole while bands play. On my way to class, I stumbed across one of these celebrations at Geidorfplatz in Graz. On the way home from class, I had to cut through a group of dancers who appeared to be connected by ribbons that were also connected to the May Pole. Of course I didn't have my camera with me, but I found some photos from last year's celebration online. Here are some favorites:

1 comment:

Anne Frasier said...

now THAT'S a may pole. i remember when the may pole broke in two during the swedish institute celebration.