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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 1, 2008

German mating season

Filed under Life in Europe

With my exceptional anthropological observation skills, I have determined that today is the official day of "mating season" for German males – and this year for females as well.

For the last two days a group of young fellows in their late teens sign for Kopierstube Barth and early 20s has been working after hours at the flower shop yard near our office in Mondorf. They had an agricultural trailer which they doctored up to be something like a rolling disco machine. The trailer was pulled last night – all night if past experience is any guide – through the streets of the villages around here as the young men took turns "planting" a freshly cut sapling in the front yard of their girlfriends. Well, they didn’t really plant the trees, as you can see in the picture of a house about 100 yards from my apartment. They tie them to lampposts and whatever else is available. The name of the desired person winds up on a heart affixed to the sapling. All the while the young fellows are merrily drinking beer (and losing a bottle here and there as some of them fall off the trailer) and blasting the neighborhood with loud disco music. Now here in Germany playing music louder than can be heard in your own room after 10:00 p.m. is determined by law to be a disturbance of the peace. But I guess that does not apply to these fellows since they are outside and not in a room. Since this year is a leap year, the girls also get to ride on the trailer and plant saplings in their boyfriend’s yards. I understand this modern tradition isn’t practiced everywhere in Germany. In other places they have other traditions, like the leftists in Hamburg who battle the police. I guess the leftists in Hamburg don’t have girlfriends, or maybe there aren’t enough saplings to go around up there. Anyway, the modern mating season dates back to heathen times when witches were driven out around this time of year and people danced around young trees, the trees being considered a sign of fertility. However, a young sapling cut down and tied up to a light pole isn’t that fertile anymore, but it seems on the night of April 30 to May 1 the normally quite logical Germans aren’t interested in logic. :-)

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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