Tomorrow is May 1st, and May Day is still celebrated in Germany (and most of Europe, as best I can tell). The beginning of May is observed with a Tanz in den Mai (“dance in to May”)– streets fairs, maypoles, festivities. Schools are out and celebrations are afoot. And so, you know, is mischief.
The evening of April 30th is Hexennacht (Witches’ Night), and tricksters are out in force. We’ve been told to hide our trash and recycling cans, bring in our potted plants, and garage our cars (really? have you seen the state of my garage?)
I will try to do all of the above, and hope that the tricksters are kept at bay by rainshowers. But still, I’ll brace for ketchup, mustard, and toilet paper on my house or cars or shrubbery. Our neighborhood is quiet, but not lacking in youthful tricksters!
The origin of this mischief lies in medieval and pagan lore. The Queen of Spring was set to enter the county come May 1st, but evil ghosts and spirits (and their cold and dark) would try to keep her at bay. (And barring any success at that, apparently they liked to toilet paper cars and turn over garbage cans to show their displeasure.)