Maypole (or Der Maibaum) is a decorated tree trunk or tree usually painted in white and blue. It is traditionally erected on the 1st of May, and every single maypole is uniquely decorated with wreaths, ribbons, or signs representing local artisan guilds. A conventional dark “Maibock“ is brewed specially for this event.
In most regions, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, it is usual to have a festivity to build up the maypoles on the village greens. This tradition is strong in the Bavarian Alps and often coordinates with the town or village fest.
An essential part of spring festivities is hoisting the maypole. Most Bavarian villages have a club known as the “Burschenverein.” A long time before the 1st of May, the men from the club move to the forest to find a straight and tall pine. They fell it and hide it till Maypole Day comes. Then it is raised using smaller trees, rope and a lot of muscle power. Once firmly fastened in place, it is topped with garlands from which bacon, sausages, schnapps and wine bottles are hung. The Maypole may remain in its place until the end of May, but in several parts of Bavaria, it stays all year round.
On the night of the last day of April, many young men raise small brightly decorated Maypoles in front of their sweethearts' houses. Some of them are with a red heart and the name of the girl or a woman written on it.