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Germany

May Day tradition in the Rhineland

The first of May is a festive day in many countries and cultures. In western Germany there is a unique May Day tradition for young men to express their love for a girl.

A birch tree with colorful streamers attached to a building

A Maibaum lets everyone know the girl who lives here has an admirer

It’s early morning on the first day of May and a young woman peeks out from her front door. There it is! She sees what she’s been hoping for. Tied to the traffic light outside her home is a tall, skinny birch tree with crepe paper chains and a heart with her name on it hung from its branches. In other parts of the world, women might long for jewelry or flowers from their admirers. In the Rhineland, girls dream of waking up to a decorated birch tree, called a Maibaum, on the first of May.

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