Eight wonderful ways to celebrate spring in Germany
With warm weather having already descended upon Germany, here's a list of eight ways to relish the spring season.
1. Burn a witch
Many Germans like to celebrate the night of April 30th by lighting a bonfire, or Maifeuer, and jumping over it. The general idea is that it is supposed to ward off any witches that might be lurking, but in some areas they like to do it just for fun!
Other regions like Brandenburg like to make stick wooden figures of witches and burn them in the flames to ward off any evil-doers. It promises plenty of fun, if hot fires and witches are your thing!
A Spargel Queen. Photo: DPA
Germans love their weißen Spargel (white asparagus). They go completely crazy for it. So much so that every year some areas even crown a “Spargel Queen". But their obsession is for a good reason: it's delicious! Unlike their green cousins, the white asparagus only sprouts for a shirt period between April and June, so stock up your supplies while you can, and enjoy the sweet taste of this most lecker of German traditions.
3. Get holy wasted on Ascension Day
For many Christians, Ascension Day, the 40th day of Easter, is a very important day of prayer. But for Germans, it's a day for heavy drinking, and outdoor celebrating. Many people load a wagon with beer and take to parks and gardens to enjoy their day off work, unless you're in Bavaria, where things are far more serious.
It falls on Fathers' Day, so while others around the world are giving their fathers ties and mugs, the Germans honour their dads with a booze-up. So, whatever your reasoning, crack open a beer and enjoy your day off.
4. Steal a very tall tree
The German Maibaum (May tree) is either erected on May 1st, a day of celebration across the country, or the day before. Residents in Bavaria, East Frisia in Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg and elsewhere celebrate this originally pagan ritual each year within their local communities.
The excitement comes when the towns try and raid their neighbours' villages to steal their tree and take it back as a prize! But of course it wouldn't be a proper German tradition without lots of beer and sausages, so there's plenty of that as well!
5. Wear fantastically bright clothing
Try and dress for the season you're looking forward to. It may still sometimes be chilly and there might be the occasional cold gust of wind, but get out those floaty summer dresses and floral prints, and guys, time for shorts. The gods might see sense and speed up summer's arrival sooner rather than later.
This might seem quite nerve-wracking to begin with, but everyone's happier when spring has just begun, so you're much more likely to have a really fulfilling conversation (in German!) at this time of year than at any other. Try starting with the bakery lady, and then perhaps strike up a chat with that person you always found pretty on your morning commute to work - spring works in mysterious ways.
7. Open up at an open-air music festival
It's spring, so that means the DJs emerge from their hibernation and come into the open to start the open-air season. All across Germany outdoor events will pop up, so crack out the sunnies, sip on some beer, and get ready to enjoy the techno-sunshine mix.
8. Let loose in a theme park
Having been laying dormant all winter, Germany's theme parks, from Heide Park in Lower Saxony to Europa-Park in Baden-Württemberg, will be starting to creak and splutter to life again. Let your hair down, and get the adrenaline rushing on one of many rollercoasters across the country.