Still legendary throughout the Harz region, Walpurgisnacht is rooted in the pagan FrÆhjahrsfest, or Spring Festival. âShe likes to make potions,â says Rico. Scholars are boycotted for signing a petition, artists are subjected to background checks and critical texts are censored. Towards the end of every April the quiet, half-timbered towns of Saxony-Anhalt, in eastern Germany, are suddenly overrun. Usher in the spring at Valborgsmässoafton, or Walpurgis Night, a bewitching festival on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm. The biggest celebrations are hosted in the small hilly town of Thale at the Hexentanzplatz (âwitchesâ dance floorâ). The main square of Wernigerode and Wernigerode Castle fill with the infectious buzz of the festival. In Germany, a Witch Hunt Is Raging Against Critics of Israel. The Brocken, also sometimes referred to as the Blocksberg, is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range and also the highest peak of Northern Germany. It means: âAttention! Wacken Open Air is the mecca of heavy metal and hard rock festivals, taking place in Wacken, Germany. Itâs fun,â he tells me. Winterâs been banished for another year. A pair of tiny horns sprout from Rico Bernhagenâs crimson forehead. The quaint town of Goslar turns wild for one night, with large-scale festivities. Up on Hexentanzplatz, the traditions of Walpurgis Night are enthusiastically observed with a witch museum, the Witchâs Cauldron cafeÌ, a Devilâs Grill Barbecue, an outdoor theatre, a year-round toboggan run, and stalls and shops doing good business in witch trinkets. According to tradition, this is where the witches gather before flying to the summit of the Brocken. Now, in an unprecedented move, leaders of top German cultural institutions have joined forces to declare: enough In 1901, Walpurgis Hall was built to exhibit paintings that illustrate the story. An informal parade snakes up the steep path to the central courtyard of the townâs castle, which was founded in the 12th century. As competition for religious market share heated up, â¦ Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Heâs walking arm in arm with a green-faced witch whoâs wearing a six-inch branch on her nose thatâs so realistic you expect robins to perch on it. Here in Germany it is different in so many ways, yet still feels like âhomeâ. Before planning a trip around a festival, verify the festival dates on the festival's website or with a local tourist information office. In fact, youâd be foolish not to venture into the forests of the Harz Mountains. Samhain is a time of transformation and inner work. Every 1st and 3rd weekend of September, Wurstmarkt sees over 500,000 people celebrating 2 of Germanyâs most popular exports â wine and wurst (sausage). Stages are set up in festival locations for jugglers, magicians, and bands to enthral the visitors. The Town of Wittlich Walpurgis Night is celebrated throughout almost all of the Harz region, adding up to around 20 festival locations. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Rows of stalls mushroom up, selling arts, crafts, food and a lot of other tempting stuff. Walpurgis Night is an annual festival based on traditional pagan celebrations that sees people dress up as witches, devils and demons for a night of merrymaking in late April. I felt I would be content lose myself for weeks here, hiking through the silent forest, eating picnics on the emerald moss and hoping to catch sight of one of the lynxes that were reintroduced to the Harz in 2001. There are devils roller-skating, line dancing, playing bagpipes and throwing sweets to the crowd. Additionally, visitors are entertained with spectacular fireworks, bonfires, parties, music and dance, and comedy performances. At 4pm, 40 witches gather on the steps of Schierke Town Hall. It is derived from local myths and folklore, which have it that witches used to whisk on their broomsticks to the highest peak of the Harz Mountains (Brocken) on this night, and to other locations of pagan sacrifices, to have a get-together with other witches and devils to celebrate the retreat of winter and the arrival of spring. Here, Walpurgis festivities continue, though some people are heading unsteadily back to the shuttle buses that brought them. The whistle can be used repeatedly during the event to summon the Witchmother's Cauldron, which grants you and your party a two-hour 100% XP buff that stacks with all other XP bonuses. While Germanyâs Harz Mountains are an awesome travel destination at any time of the year, they turn particularly magical on, Walpurgisnacht decoration | Â© MrsBrown / Pixabay. Outside town, silence reigns in the woods, broken only by the distant hoot from the narrow-gauge steam engine. A fun event peculiar to Wernigerode is the storming of the city hall by witches. The medieval Roman Catholic Church, which then dominated a large swath of the continent, divided magic into two formsânatural magic, which was acceptable because it was viewed as merely taking note of the powers in nature that were created by God, and demonic magic, which was frowned upon and associated with demonology. I wanted to take German in college, mostly so I could understand the lyrics of Einstürzende Neubauten, but the class was every Monday at 9 a.m. Germanyâs Most Famous Witch Posted by Constanze on Oct 17, 2018 in Folklore, History, Language, vocabulary Guten Tag and Happy Halloweâen! In a strange case of life imitating art, the workers who dug the foundations unearthed an ancient, possibly Bronze Age, stone sacrificial altar. On either side of the water, the rocks have taken on strange sculptural forms and there is something undeniably eerie about the landscape. The hero, Faust, and the devil Mephistopheles, to whom heâs sold his soul, pass through it on the way to meeting the witches on top of the Brocken. Airlines including Air Berlin, BA and Eurowings, fly from London to Hanover, a 90 minute drive from Wernigerode. Just as the East German government was preparing to replace them with diesel ones, the Berlin Wall fell. Walpurgis Night is celebrated throughout almost all of the Harz region, adding up to around 20 festival locations. In early modern Europe, Protestantism emerged as the first truly viable challenger to the Catholic churchâs hold on the population. The German lands have long been known as the âheartland of the witch crazeâ. Walpurgis Night (or “Walpurgisnacht”) is the name for the eve of her day, which coincides with May Day. A huge, two-day party is being held in the town park, along the banks of the Bode, where pigs turn on spits and a blacksmith with a beard like Thor is hammering belt buckles on his anvil. The use of elaborate carved wooden masks, devils, witches, animals and other âwild charactersâ (Wilde Leâ¦ Pallid with white make-up, Frank Wilhelm from Berlin is here as his alter ego, Necronomos, a warlock who carries a horned skull on a long staff. Up in the remoter corners of the Harz Mountains, winter tends to cling on for a while and so, perhaps, did old customs. Saint Walpurga or Walburga (Old English: Wealdburg, Latin: Valpurga, Walpurga, Walpurgis; c. AD 710 â 25 February 777 or 779), also spelled Valderburg or Guibor, was an English missionary to the Frankish Empire. During the time of the Thirty Years War (1618 â 1648), more witch trials and executions took place in this area than in any other area in Europe. From shop lostmartyn. Rico comes from Hamburg and works in logistics. It's Carnival, German style.. Many in the crowd have gone to enormous effort to dress up, wearing robes, elaborate make-up, costumes and tinted contact lenses. âItâs a mountain forest. Through this period, the South West of Germany in cities such as Rottweil, Württemberg, Baden-Baden, and Horn, becomes an epicentre for witch-hunting and persecution. A band called LaMarotte (“The Crook”, in French) – und das Mittelalter groovt! The steam trains stopped running and any witch foolish enough to come here would have been seen off by the Soviet soldiers guarding the listening post. One reason is that it clashed with International Labour Day, on 1 May. âIt took us five hours to get ready,â says the witch, whoâs a hairdresser called Carolin Blank. Itâs a leisurely 90-minute journey up, switchbacking through deep forests that seem to press in on the train. The 18-year-old was badly scalded on â¦ To retrace this itinerary through the Harz Mountains, youâll need to hire a car (from $237 ~ â¬220 ~ Â£190 per week; avis.co.uk). Before the church named it after a saint, it was a pagan spring festival, celebrated across Europe with dances, maypoles and ceremonial bonfires. 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