Photographer's Note

The photo shows the maypole in the tiny village of Sieseby near Eckernförde. The maypole is a spring symbol that dates back to pagan times. Raising the maypole symbolizes the planting of trees and spring's reawakening. Ancient Germanic people believed that each tree contained a soul, and they planted trees to commemorate births. They celebrated the marriage of the earth goddess by decorating a tree with ribbons and flowers, similar to modern decorations. They also planted a young birch on May 1st as a dedication to the pagan gods. Today the maypole is usually a very tall treetrunk denuded of its branches, and it is installed by the villagers on the eve of 1st May, to remain in place for at least a month. The process is usually orchestrated by a farmer with a tractor, but the business of getting the pole to the vertical is the business of the menfolk of the village, using a Lilliputian selection of long sticks and ropes. The process is usually helped by lots of shouting, and the provision of Bratwurst and beer, and once the pole is up, its bottom section bedded into a deep hole in the ground, it is decorated with tinsel and garlands and often with the symbols of local crafts and guilds. This year Sieseby’s maypole is an economical version since the villagers decorated a flagpole!

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Additional Photos by Harriet Kaehler (Kielia) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2502 W: 0 N: 6653] (23723)
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