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Thingstätte Heidelberg Walpurgisnacht 1

Image of the crowd in the Walpurgis night on the Thingstätte on the Holy Mountain in Heidelberg, 30 April 2007.

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. It is often celebrated with dancing and bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows' Eve.

In European folklore of the 17th century Walpurgis Night is a meeting of sorcerers and witches to celebrate the arrival of spring at the German mountain Brocken. To expel this witches and other bad spirits from their villages people made bonfires. This tradition of bonfires has still remained and is practised in many parts of Europe. 

In Northern Europe, in Finland and Sweden, it’s mainly the celebration of spring nowadays but also a big ceremony of students which is celebrated with dancing, singing and drinking. In some areas it is carnival-like and a holiday. In Germany these days it is often called Dance into May and similar to Finland and Sweden. In Estonia it’s also a spring celebration whereby some people dress up like witches.

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