Walpurgis Night is celebrated on the eve of May Day. April 30th, the eve of the feast of Saint Walpurga or Walpurgis Night is thought to be a time in which witches are held to ride to an appointed rendezvous. German folklore tells of the devil and the witches holding a riotous festival on the Brocken Peak in the Hartz Mountains awaiting the arrival of spring.
Walpurga was a British nun, who went to Germany in the 8th century. She was said to have cured the illnesses of many local residents. After her death, it is said a healing oil trickled from the rock tomb of which she was encased. After her death she was glorified as a saint. It is coincidental that the date of her canonization is the same date of the pagan celebrations.
It is said that farm animals were let out to graze and bonfires were lit to scare away the predators. There was also singing and dancing, and gun fire, ringing of cow bells and screaming and yelling was not unheard of. Other festivities included drinking alcoholic beverages, dressing in costumes, eating nettle soup, and partying while dancing into May (“Tanz in den Mai!”). These celebrations still take place in some parts of the country.
May Day is celebrated in the United States on the first day of May by filling small baskets with flowers or treats and leaving them on a neighbor’s doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The receiver will try to catch the giver and once caught a kiss is exchanged.
Hope you have enjoyed this small tidbit of information for the W-Blog today. Be sure to check out some of the other great bloggers taking part in the W-Challenge today.