Friday, May 7, 2010

Tag der Arbeit am ersten Mai

[ Labor day on the first of May ]

With Moritz back home, we decided to cook for Inge and Andreas over the weekend and make a nice evening with everyone back together. Now, being in Germany, I know very well already that everything is closed on Sundays. It is a pain sometimes, but once you are used to it, planning out what to buy for Sunday just becomes a part of Saturday life.

I went shopping with Moritz on Friday and we were picking everything up. I told Moritz, however, that I would pick up the fresh bread the next day - but then to my surprise, I found out it was a holiday.

And Moritz told me matter-of-factly as if I should have known, ersten Mai, the first of May. Uhh... That is a holiday where everything is closed? I later found out that this was not just some day to enjoy Spring weather in Germany, but it was the nations Labor Day. Curiously, I found out that many European nations based this holiday off of the States, but the US is one of the only western nations that doesn't celebrate it in May, but in September.

The holiday has a bit of a different meaning in Germany as well. It is a day to bring attention to Arbeitslosigkeit - unemployment - and in many large cities large riots of right-wing extremists collaborate against Police - all of which was documented on TV from Hamburg and Berlin. The day wasn't all political however. Many - and probably most - Germans enjoy the day with family, and many young adults probably use the day to catch up on sleep from a night of dancing. I wasn't out myself on this particular Friday night, however, I learned that this evening before this national holiday is now known as der Hexentanz - the witches dance. Apparently women go out dressed as witches to clubs and parties to bring in the Spring months [ since I doubt they are expecting to find any mates dressed as witches...]

[ Maybe Germany doesn't follow the "Halloween rule" from Mean Girls ]

Overall, this little holiday had me learning little cultural facts as the day progressed - many of them quirky things about Germany that I almost would have overlooked [ or just went shopping on Saturday and be one confused Foreigner standing in front of Kaufland...]

1 comment:

  1. yeah, i didn't know about the holiday until i got to the bus station in siena, needed a ride to the center of the city, and realized the buses don't run on may 1st and the baggage claim area is not available for use. damn it.