Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter Fire, Dancing into May and May Day Celebrations

Wow, the Germans really love celebrating spring time!  With Easter happening so late this year, we have three big springtime events all happening within a week of each other! Here's the rundown of how they all went:

Easter Fire

It's a German tradition each spring at Easter to make a huge bonfire and we heard from our neighbors that the biggest fires were going to be in Gemen, which is a suburb of Borken.  We packed up Dylan on the back of the bike and headed off to Gemen, about 2 miles away from our house.  The first fire we came to was probably the biggest bonfire I've ever seen.  It was behind the local convent and there were a bunch of nuns around handing out flyers with hymns on them.  There were about 60 people there and it was crazy hot (obviously) because those nuns really know how to build a good fire.

After a few minutes we decided to go further into Gemen to see if there other fires since we didn't know anyone at this fire, and we had secretly stashed two beers in Dylan's diaper bag and didn't want to crack them open in front of the nuns. 

Another 1/5 mile down the road we could see the smoke from another huge fire and there was singing and a lot of people heading that way.  Just as we turned down the path, Bryan's front bike tire popped and we were forced to stop.  It was already past Dylan's bedtime, so instead of venturing on, we hoofed it the 2 miles home pushing a sleepy Dylan on the bike.  One our way home Dylan was pooped on by a bird.  We figure the popped tire and bird poop was the Pope's Revenge for us ditching the nun's fire and smuggling beer.

Tanzen in den Mai (Dancing into May)

April 30 / May 1 is a really big deal around this part of the world.  If May 1 falls on a week day, then it's even a national holiday for everyone. On Saturday afternoon, we went over to our friends house for our first German-style BBQ.  The main difference between American BBQ and German BBQ is that in America, we prepare everything to be served at the same time, whereas here only a few pieces of meat are put on the grill at one time so as your munching on salads and bread and other dishes, the meat comes gradually.  It makes it possible to sit and eat and talk for a really long time, as opposed to scarfing the entire meal down in 15 minutes ala American-style.  Dylan enjoyed his time playing in the garden with his little buddy, also.  These two are double trouble.
Double Trouble

The Kid's Table

Teaming up to break out of the garden

After we left our friends house, we took a detour through Borken's town center on our way home to check out the town's official Tanzen in den Mai" celebration.  There were some food and drink tents out as well as DJ and about 100 people or so milling about.  The sun had only just gone down, so not a lot of people were out yet.  The scene had the potential to get really fun, but we were stuffed from all German BBQ and it was nearly 2 hours past Dylan's bedtime, so we didn't stay long.
Tanzen in den Mai with daddy

May Day

Some friends of ours invited us to join them at a house in Raesfeld, a nearby town, for a May Day Party.  After Dylan's nap, we packed up our bikes once again and headed out for a windy bike ride to Raesfeld.  We arrived around 5:30 p.m., just in time to see the band playing some classic rock, from Tom Petty, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rolling Stones and more. There were about 75 people there, lots of kids, toys, animals and Dylan's girlfriend, Amy. My son is completely smitten with this little girl and follows her around like a puppy-dog calling her name and chasing after her (much in the same way Bryan chased after me in college).
The weather, food, atmosphere, people and music were all excellent!

Bryan and Kristin, enjoying the party

Dylan and his girlfriend

Dylan, enjoying the music

Windy bike ride home

Our reflections on the fields


Anonymous said...

That is the coolest picture of your reflection - I hope you printed it out for display at your home!

Dana said...

Thanks! It's definitely on our list of photos to get printed. I was praying that a big gust of wind wouldn't come while I was trying to balance and take the photo while riding.