Is May 1st in Kreuzberg just another meaningless holiday?

Is May 1st in Kreuzberg just another meaningless holiday?

Welcome to Spring, welcome to a city which loves life in the open-air, welcome to Mayday in Kreuzberg!

For better or for worse, things ain’t what they used to be. May 1st is a day of massive significance in Kreuzberg as a whole and specifically in our eastern sector of the borough, where you will find Die Fabrik Hotel Hostel – a neighbourhood fondly still known by its former postcode, SO36. This significance is largely due to our history of being a focal point for Labour Day demonstrations and celebrations.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, May 1st in Kreuzberg became synonymous with protests, rallies, serving as a reminder of the power of collective action and the importance of standing up for justice and equality. And clashes between demonstrators and police became as good as guaranteed.

Even until the 20-teens, the traditional sundown exchange between rioters’ cobblestones and petrol bombs and the police’s tear-gas and water cannon was well worth avoiding, unless you were a journalist looking for cheap copy.

Nonetheless, until Covid-19 ruined everything for everyone, May 1st in Kreuzberg had evolved into a colossal cultural event (MyFest), with street parties, al fresco concerts, community gatherings celebrating solidarity and diversity, and advocating for social justice and equality. It was also a day to get tucked in to a world of indescribably scrummy street food and the odd lethal cocktail (or two).

Last year, with Covid-19 firmly in the rearview river, the organisers and the Borough had yet to find common cause, which culminated in the 2023 edition being canned barely a week in advance. And with the fate of the 2024 party still unclear, we are nonetheless confident that we will find a party and a demo to enjoy on May 1st in Berlin Kreuzberg – although not necessarily at the same time.

By the end of March 2024, a series of demos and gatherings had already been registered with the authorities, many of them in SO36, and from mid-morning until late into the evening. You can check online with the City for the very latest updates, or dig around on X/Twitter under the #b0105 or #1mai2024 hashtags. (Sure, it’s mostly in German, but DeepL or browser extensions will make light work of any translations.)

The night before May 1st in Berlin is Walpurgisnacht and if you want to dance, boy, have you come to the right place!

Walpurgis what?

Walpurgisnacht, also known as Walpurgis Night, is named after Saint Walpurga, an English missionary who was canonized on May 1st, hence the connection to the May Day celebrations. It is a traditional spring festival in many parts of Central and Northern Europe, including Germany. It falls on the night of April 30th and lasts well in to the small hours of May Day itself.

Tummy Tip:

Pre-party prep. A tasty bite at “Fredd’s Burger”, next to Die Fabrik, will set you up grand for a long night’s festivities.

Guten Appetit!

“Tanz in den Mai”: the mother of all parties.

In Berlin, Walpurgisnacht is rocked-out with various events, including bonfires, music concerts, dance performances, and other festivities. It is a time when people come together to welcome the arrival of spring and ward off evil spirits. The celebration often includes dressing up in pagan-style costumes, dancing around the bonfire, and enjoying oodles of food and drink.

Berliners and savvy out-of-towners can usher in the month of May in a relaxed atmosphere in the open air surroundings of the huge, 15-hectare Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg. If you want to exuberantly shake your thing all night long, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in Mauerpark.

So, to answer our question; sure, things change, but it is up to every one of us to make the very most of that. Let’s party!

 

Directions from Die Fabrik Hotel Hostel: take the Ubahn U1 or U3 from Schlesisches Tor to Warschauer Strasse and then the M10 Tram to Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark. Easy!

 

Images: Generously made available by Unspash & Creative Commons. Leonhard Lenz, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
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