Maypole

John 2:1-11
1Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in the country of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. 2Jesus and his disciples were also asked to the wedding.
3The people needed more wine. Then Jesus' mother said to him, `They have no wine.' 4Jesus said, `Woman, why are you telling me about it? It is not yet the time for me to do something.'
5His mother said to the servants, `Do all that he tells you to do.' 6Six very large water pots made of stone were standing there. The pots were there because the Jews had a certain law about washing themselves.
7Jesus said, `Fill the pots with water.' So they filled them to the very top. 8Jesus said, `Now take some out. Carry it to the one in charge of the feast.' They did what he said.
9The man in charge of the feast tasted the water that was now turned into wine. He did not know where it came from, but the servants who drew the water knew. When the man had tasted it, he called the man who was being married. 10He said, `Other people give the good wine at the beginning of the feast. When people have had all they want, then they give the wine which is not so good. But you have kept the good wine until now.'
11This was the first big work that Jesus did. It was in Cana in Galilee. He showed that he was great. And his disciples believed in him.

In Germany, especially in Bavaria, the tradition of raising a Maypole (Maibaum) on May 1 called Maifeiertag which means “May Celebration Day” is used to welcome Spring and to drive away evil spirits. This tradition in Germany and many other countries in Europe has been done since ancient times. Some in Germany still observe the night between April 30 and May 1 as Witches Night (Hexennacht). Traditionally, people believed that witches held celebrations on the summit of the Blocksberg, a mountain in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, on the night between April 30 and May 1. People believed that it was dangerous to be outside on this night so they lit fires to deter the witches from coming too close to them or their homes. These traditions lead to the custom of lighting fires and erecting maypoles still seen today. The Maibaum is a tall pole made from a pine tree with colorful ribbons, flowers, carved figures, and various other decorations adorning it and is set up in a town's public square. Usually the Maibaum is replaced every 4-5 years, due to safety concerns with weathering and cracking as most town Maibaums are usually over 90 feet in length. This year in Mietraching, where Lizzy and I live, the Maibaum will be set up today. We'll have traditional dances, music, and everyone will be wearing Bavarian folk costumes.The entire population of the town will turn out as will the people of neighboring towns. It is a day of celebration for winter’s end and springs arrival. Of course there will be much food and drink with Bavarian Beer, sausages and other dishes ready for everyone to enjoy. This year Lizzy and I had the privilege as Mietraching residents to help shape and paint the Maibaum being raised today.

Painting the Maibaum

John 2:1-11 is a passage I read through that I thought was appropriate for the celebrations that will be going on today. The wedding in Cana was obviously a celebration of life and love and Jesus attended, no doubt, to celebrate as well. He even contributed to the celebration creating really good wine. God created us to love, honor and obey Him but He also created us to enjoy life and celebrate with each other. We do this every time we attend church together and every time we get together as Christians. This 1st of May morning the entire town will celebrate with a church service honoring God, the coming of Spring, the joy of life and then party as only the Bavarians can. I wish you could all be here to celebrate with us.

Finished product ready for raising.

Live locally,think eternally,
Blessings from your Bavarian Missionary,
Matt Schneider
p.s. pictures of the celebration to follow!


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