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The Moosburg Maypole

Maypole (c. 23 kbytes) Moosburg's Viehmarktplatz is no longer a cattle market but a parking lot most of the time. Twice a year though, two big festivals take place there: the spring fair (Frühlingsfest) and the autumn fair (Herbstschau). The Moosburg Maypole or May tree (Maibaum) which is more than 34 metres (112 ft) tall stands in the middle of these popular activities.

Bavarian Maypoles are neither heathen fertility symbols nor is their tradition as old as some people say. It probably only came up in Baroque times when the first decorated trees were erected as signs of friendship and solidarity. In contrast to some examples with their natural bark the Moosburg Maypole is painted white and blue, the colours of Bavaria. It is decorated with a weather vane, a green wreath and many signs.

Maypole (c. 28 kbytes) On the Maypole are the coats of arms of Moosburg's twin towns and pictures of the town hall, the Minster and the former town gates. Below, the cooper's dance is shown. This traditional dance is performed every five years. The white and blue lozenges on the pole are heraldic symbols of Bavaria.

Further Maypoles are erected in other parts of town on May 1st. Normally a group of young men does this by hand but sometimes a crane is used. In the night before its erection the Maypole is guarded so that it is not stolen by another village community. A stolen Maypole can be retrieved by offering the thieves a generous ration of beer and food. If the offer is too miserly the thieves paint the pole black and put it up in their own village as a symbol of the owners' shame.

Pictures: © WebTeam Moosburg

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