This is how villages celebrate Labor Day

new townWhat do gusts of wind, fruit tree auctions, bands, and Walpurgis Night have in common? May 1, which has been known worldwide as Labor Day since 1890. While trade unions in major cities call for demonstrations on this holiday, associations, local councils or clubs invite meetings in the village. These take place either the previous evening or the holiday itself. Variations are possible: with and without a pillar, a dance, chapel and prayer or even without a meeting.

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Green ribbons all the way as an important asset

But in the past, the village council on May 1 had a specific reason. It was about no less than an auction for renting fruit trees and roadsides. “Small farmers and civil servants usually did not have enough pasture land or fruit trees. So, on May 1, before the trees came to fruition, the lease was auctioned for a year,” Helmut Holck said. He is a member of Realverband Dudensen with 30 years of experience as president.

The rental debt was paid off through so-called manual services and stabilization. “You had to help repair the tracks with handicrafts, horse and wagon. This settled tax obligations. This custom was also remembered in Wulfelade, Empede, Hagen and Nöpke. In the meantime, roadside auctions are only of a symbolic nature,” Holke explained. The meetings themselves, however, have stood the test of time.

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traditional meetings

In some places, the May meetings can be traced back to 1939. Another important item on the agenda is welcoming the city’s new residents. It was good manners to take a tour. It’s either the job of the new residents or the job of the local council, depending on where they live. If that’s not enough for you, go with Wulfelade. “It is still customary for us today that the chief blows the new with the horn,” said the second head of the village community, Chris Albrecht.

In many places, the start of Labor Day celebrations is the setting up of the backbone. This custom dates back to pre-Christian times, the newly cut tree is considered a symbol of fertility, and in subsequent centuries, a peeled tree was used, decorated with wreaths and ribbons. In the 18th century, the tradition of attaching panels to cross-columns developed, introducing handicrafts, crafts and other local amenities. In Hagen, Mariensee and Nöpke, such a column is created every year.

It may be a symbol of fertility

So, for the first time this year, freshly cut birch was cut in the village community square in Borstel. “The worm was in the beam. I left with a couple of my friends and it took us four hours to find a beautiful tree,” Jan Doensing said. Eilvese has also been using a fresh birch tree in front of the community center for several years now. The village committee has been organizing a colorful festival for the past 20 years.

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“The world premiere of a spontaneous theatrical piece begins at the Schraeder Hotel the night before. Then there was the dancing,” said panelist Axel Schlecker. On May 1, service begins at 11 a.m., followed by a parade, accompanied by live band music. The bakery serves baked pork and country women serve cakes. “There’s also May punch and entertainment,” Schlecker said.

After a two-year hiatus, the parish and village youth now presented a somewhat different May Festival. “With coffee and biscuits under the bar, there was a watered-down version of the usual Mayfest,” Schlecker said. Wulfelade and Mariensee also start the working day with a joint prayer service in Metzgesberg. Next, Mariensee City Council will hold the mayor in front of the village store. The site is new and the tradition is not. “The mayor has stood in front of the rectory for 25 years,” said former mayor Heinrich Zisenes.

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Music and Dance in May: Greetings from Walpurgis Night

Music is also part of the May Festival. While the Musikfreunde Borstel played the famous song “Der Mai ist haben” under Mayo’s lead, the meeting in Wolffield ended with this in the middle of the night. At the same time, guests at Borstel and Vesbeck have already started in Tanz in den Mai. Traditionally, the night from April 30 to May 1 is Walpurgis Night, when witches held a great festival. It was preserved as a dance in May due to the opportunity to mingle with others on the eve of Labor Day.

The name of the festival is derived from St. Walburga, who was canonized on May 1. Night Witch is also used for pranks. “Sometimes the garden gate disappears during the night and hangs in front of someone else’s property in the morning,” said Albrecht of the Wulfeader tradition. There is no magic in Burstel, but dance. The tent party has been an integral part of Labor Day celebrations for about 40 years and usually ends in the wee hours of the morning.

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Tradition: Dancing until May at Borstel with a big party in a tent has been the norm for 40 years.

Tradition: Dancing until May at Borstel with a big party in a tent has been the norm for 40 years.

As the dancers make their way home, Dudensen’s Labor Day begins with music. From 8 am, the fire brigade is driven through the village in a specially built trailer. The band has been touring the streets since 1932.

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In Nöpke, Schützenkapelle receives the morning wake-up call on May 1st and also wanders the streets on carriages to the Nöpker Bierhus, where the meeting of the real assembly begins at noon. And so we come full circle with the customs surrounding May 1st.

Written by Susan Brosh

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