Walpurgisnacht and Tanz in den Mai

It’s a big night tonight in the Fatherland!

If you happen to be a witch, warlock, hobgoblin or demon (and I think some of my regular commentators would fall into one of those categories) then this is Walpurgis night – the night when you are allowed to fly about on broomsticks and cause trouble. Of course, as a modern German miscreant, causing trouble probably means filing your income tax late or failing to have the emissions tested on your car… but if you want to do the traditional thing, you’ll fly on a broomstick to the Brocken (tallest peak in the Harz mountains) where the coven will be celebrating. Apparently.

Germans behaving in a disorderly manner.

For those of us (and I include myself in this) that are altogether less witchlike or demonic, or just don’t happen to own a functional flying broom, the alternative is to pop down to the local pub. They will be celebrating Tanz in den Mai tonight – fundamentally this is a dance to welcome the Spring… the name indicates that we’ll be dancing the month of May in, rather than dancing in the month of May, if you get my drift.

The actual quality of the dancing tonight will be largely determined by the amount of the Maibowle which has been consumed. This is a lethal German weapons-grade fizzy punch which contains the world’s most obnoxious herb – Waldmeister (woodruff).

The Maibowle... a recipe which must never be allowed to fall into the hands of Germany's enemies...

In my experience, the effect of the Maibowle on a living human organism is to cause a vast increase in physical energy combined with almost total muscular paralysis. The result is that you will end up dancing like a demented stick insect, although for some reason you will be convinced you are performing Swan Lake at the Bolshoi. The spiking of your drink with Waldmeister adds the complication that you might actually hurl the entire contents of your digestive system at any moment….as may all the people performing stick-insect pirouettes around you.

Waldmeister is so noxious that the German tobacco industry is actually banned from incorporating it into its products. So what do the Germans do? They feed it to their kids.   Sweets, desserts, fizzy pop…. the list of treats which are infested with the stuff is endless.  When attending kids’ parties in Germany I make it a firm rule never to eat or drink anything that’s green. If it’s too nasty for the tobacco industry, I’m not eating it.

Woodruff flavoured jelly. WHY?

So tonight, I’ve decided that the lesser of the evils will be to mount my Vileda Wischmop and fly off to the Harz mountains. Let’s hope there’s only eye-of-newt and toe-of-frog in the cauldron!

 

 

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5 Comments

Filed under About Germany, food, German festivals, Life in Germany

5 responses to “Walpurgisnacht and Tanz in den Mai

  1. How come I have never had Maibowle in my life..?

    Love Waldmeister ice cream, but also ice cream made from corn (Korea), wasabi and black sesame seed (Japan).

    Cathy, hope to see you at the Brocken again tonight. You were so much fun last year 🙂

  2. I liked the taste of Waldmeister as a kid. Probably explains a lot. Someone once told me that the Russian (Ukrainian?) for woodruff is “chernobyl”

  3. KamikazeKatze

    Have you ever come across “Berliner Weiße”? That is a sour wheat beer mixed with Waldmeister syrup. *argh*

  4. paranoid android

    Don’t worry about the green food and drink. There’s never any real woodruff in it, just artificial flavoring used as an excuse to make the stuff toxic green. It tastes like plastic crap, but it’s no more harmful than your average soft drink. To taste the real stuff, you need to visit the “Zaubertrank” in Hamburg. They serve and sell actual woodruff syrup. A few drops in a glass of apple juice make a very refreshing drink.

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