Dorfplatz der Geminde Grabenstätt mit Maibaum
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Maypole festivals

One of the oldest traditions in the Chiemsee Chiemgau region

Raising the maypole is one of the best-known traditions in the Chiemsee-Chiemgau region. As part of a hearty festival on May 1st, a tree decorated with carved wooden figures is erected in many communities. The wooden figures depict the crafts in the region.

On May 1st, the Chiemgau meets for the traditional maypole erection! The traditional costume associations usually erect a decorated tree up to 30 meters high in the central squares of many towns and communities. With music, food and drink, there will be a hearty party afterwards, to which guests are very welcome.

The maypole - a tradition with mettle

Even in pre-Christian times there was a tradition to celebrate the return of spring by erecting a tree. Christianity saw this as a pagan cult and the celebrations were banned. Only after the plague in the 16th century did the tradition develop further, the trees were now peeled and decorated for May 1st and now stood for prosperity, growth, luck and blessings. Since erecting the maypole was still associated with celebration and dancing, the church tried to ban it again in the 18th century.

Fortunately, this attempt was unsuccessful, which is why the erection of the maypole has survived to this day.

Trachtenverein beim Maibaumaufstellen
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Today's traditions around putting up the maypole

The night before it is erected is particularly exciting for local clubs, because stealing the maypole is one of the traditions surrounding the festivities. Young men from different places try to steal each other's maypoles. The exact procedure varies from location to location, but what is certain is that a stolen tree must be bought back with natural resources such as beer. The tree is then ceremoniously returned to the actual owners.

The decorations

In Bavaria, a high coniferous tree is usually used for the custom, all branches of which are sawn off in order to decorate it afterwards. Creativity can be given free rein with the decoration, because both the painting in the Bavarian colors of blue and white and natural trees, whose bark is often decorated with carvings, are an integral part of the tradition. In addition, the maypole gets a “ crown”, a wreath of maypole tops and metal or wooden signs. These show craftsmen and trades and mostly also the church, the town hall and the school of the place.

Love may

Bachelors to the front! The "Liebesmaien" is a small tree that unmarried men leave in front of their loved ones' houses to express their affection. The trees are often decorated with messages for the loved one. The "Liebesmaien" stays for about a month before the bachelor picks it up again. If the atempt is successful, the lady of your heart will issue an invitation.

Nahaufnahme der Figuren auf einem Maibaum
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.
Family on a tractor at the Pfingstroas in Inzell
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Chiemgau traditions

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Typical Chiemgau snack with radish
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

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Kinder in Tracht tanzen miteinadner
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Inzell lebt bayrische Tradition

Musik, Kulinarik, Tradition und gute Laune. Das und mehr erwartet jeden der auf die Pfingstroas in Inzell geht. Neugierig geworden? Dann lest hier mehr.