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Q: Here in Germany, it’s that time of year again when I see posters inviting me to “Tanz in den Mai!” What’s up with that?

A: “Dance into May” is a common practice with people throughout the country, where they take advantage of May first’s holiday status to whoop it up a little the night before. Discos and bars play host to revelers, as do clubs and other social organizations. A traditional drink of the evening is the maibowle, a concoction of sparkling and dry white wines, flavored with an herb known as waldmeister, which translates into sweet woodruff.

The eve of May 1 is also celebrated as Walpurgisnacht, when bonfires are built and Maypoles decorated, and, legend has it, the witches throw their big bash atop Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz mountain range. Beware this evening, as Walpurgis night is celebrated much like Americans mark Halloween, with tricks played upon the unsuspecting. How to protect yourself from all that potential evil lurking at your doorstep? Noise, and plenty of it. Since it’s not likely to be a quiet evening anyway, why not just dance your way into spring this year?

Got a question about goings-on Europe? E-mail Stripes.


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