May Day

Welcome to May Day 2013. The May Day and the associated non-working day is mainly celebrated in the UK and Germany. In rural regions of Germany, especially the Harz Mountains, Walpurgisnacht celebrations of pagan origin are traditionally held on the night before May Day, including bonfires and the wrapping of a Maibaum (maypole). Young people use this opportunity to party, while the day itself is used by many families to get some fresh air.

In the Rhineland, May 1 is also celebrated by the delivery of a maypole, a tree covered in streamers to the house of a girl the night before. The tree is typically from a love interest, though a tree wrapped only in white streamers is a sign of dislike. Females usually place roses or rice in form of a heart at the house of their beloved one. It is common to stick the heart to a window or place it in front of the doormat. On leap years, it is the responsibility of the females to place the maypole. All the action is usually done secretly and it is an individual’s choice whether to give a hint of their identity or stay anonymous. May Day was not established as a public holiday until 1933.

As Labour Day, many political parties and unions host activities related to work and employment. It’s also featured as the International Workers Day. In my younger days we started the evening before May Day standing aside the bonfire and made our plans to what party we should go. Mostly came home early in the morning. But it was natural that we went to the socialist party rally on May Day. These rallies were completed with some musicians playing critical songs. A few years later, in England, a musician with exactly that style of music has become very popular – one of my all time favorites: Billy Bragg

There was a big tradition in singer/songwriter in Germany. Established in the early 60s and influenced by Bob Dylan, Pete Seegar, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez and many more political singer like Franz Josef Degenhardt, Hanns Dieter Hüsch, Dieter Süverkrüpp and others met once a year to a festival on Burg Waldeck. I did’t agree to all what they said and sung but there was one voice that I enjoy even nowadays. Hannes Wader has a deep and smooth voice and there is one song I love by its words – Heute hier – morgen dort. This are the words in English:

Here today, gone tomorrow,
I’m hardly there, I must go, 
I’ve never complained about it. 

Did it even chosen to never counted the years, 
never asked about yesterday and tomorrow. 
Sometimes I dream hard  and then I think, it would be 
time to stay and have to do something quite different. 

Thus passes year after year and it’s long been clear to me, 
that nothing remains that nothing is as it was. 
That one hardly missed me, forget it after days, 
if I’m already back elsewhere,  interfere and do not care.

Remains perhaps my face  but the one ‘or other in mind 
Sometimes I dream hard … 
One asks me why I’m so, I remain silent, 
because the answer to it is difficult for me. 

After all, what is new is old and what was still
yesterday  already today ‘or tomorrow is no longer true.

Some time ago, a television station has the pictures of football coaches dismissed shown and highlighted with this song – and that makes sense too. In this video the songs starts classic as we know it and turns into a past-punk version like it is the style of the Toten Hosen.

Enjoy your May Day


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