German witches get ready for Walpurgis Night
29 April 2005, HAMBURG - Up to 150,000 self-styled witches and warlocks, New Age practitioners and the simply curious are converging for May Eve revelries on the summit of the highest peak in the Harz Mountains on Saturday night.
29 April 2005
HAMBURG - Up to 150,000 self-styled witches and warlocks, New Age practitioners and the simply curious are converging for May Eve revelries on the summit of the highest peak in the Harz Mountains on Saturday night.
Children in spooky costumes will participate in parades and street fairs in villages on the slopes of the Brocken, the mountain immortalised in Alexander Borodin's 'Night on Bald Mountain' orchestral suite.
Bonfires will light the nighttime skies on mountain tops in the Harz region as local communities held their own May Day Eve festivals marking the end of winter and the coming of summer.
In the town of Schierke, a four-hour Walpurgis Night open-air play is being held, tracing the history of the persecution of witches, with players performing writhing modern dances to Medieval music.
The day of Saint Walburga is celebrated on 1 May. But the night before, 30 April or May Day Eve (Beltane Eve), is called Walpurgis Night, formerly the date of the pagan festival marking the beginning of summer.
Its autumnal counterpart, six months later on 31 October, is Halloween.
According to German legend, this festival has been associated with a witches' carnival, and on this night it was believed that witches met with the devil for one final night of revelry before being consigned to the underworld until they emerge again exactly six months later on 31 October - Halloween.
The Harz Mountains region is the location of many German fairy tales featuring witches and goblins and the Brocken is the highest Harz peak at 1,142 metres.
Subject: German news