Residents of Gottmadingen in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg woke up on Sunday, Mother's Day, to find Mayor Michael Klinger standing at the town hall at with three florists handing out fresh bouquets to passersby.
The flowers piled high on three beer tables, Klinger distributed some 400 bouquets to Gottmadingen residents who had no way to buy the flowers on Mother's Day due to a ban on their sale in the state of Baden-Württemberg. “These flowers should spell a happy end to everything. We've achieved what we wanted,” said Klinger.
In another village, Bretten, florists donated 2,400 long-stemmed roses which Mayor Paul Metzger distributed free of cost to mothers, fathers and children.
The bizarre events date back to a decision by the state government in the capital Stuttgart to enforce a controversial ban on fresh flowers on Pentecost Sunday. Since Mother's Day, which is traditionally celebrated on every second Sunday in May, coincided with Pentecost Sunday this year, the state government insisted on the validity of the ban which foresees the sale of flowers only in certain exceptions.
The flower ban led to a month-long legal dispute between Gottmadigen and Bretten and state authorities. The two villages recently lost their case against the flower ban in the administrative court of Mannheim.
But that didn't stop Mayor Metzger from using a loophole in a law governing restaurants which allows them to sell certain wares even during holidays. Thus, residents of Bretten who wanted to buy entire bouquets on Mother's Day could do so “very legally,” according to Metzger, in two designated bars in the city.
“This is a harmonious end to Mother's Day. We could also manage to make up for a small percentage of our florists' losses,” he said.
Elsewehere in Baden-Würrtemberg, the flower ban created roaring business for florists on Saturday as people rushed to stock up on flowers for Mother's Day.
Despite the happy end, Metzger warns that the fight with the state government over the flower ban will continue. Yet, it will be a while before things come to a head again – the next time Mother's Day coincides with Pentecost Sunday is in the year 2035.