As we're upon the The Witching Hour of Walpurgisnacht, I'm sharing how I celebrated this holiday twenty-eight years ago in the Harz Mountains of Germany. Filmed in 1992, this footage is of the first public Walpurgisnacht festival after decades of being banned by the former DDR. The footage is from my film 'Germania: The Theory of Ruins'. Some described this scene as eerily reminiscent of the Danish silent classic 'Häxan', but in color.
While this world-wide pandemic has had varying effects on everyone, and public events must now be cancelled, we can take heart in the fact that for many years, many people weren't able to partake in the sort of celebration shown in this video. If they were able to maintain a continuum to their spiritual roots and folk traditions, even if practicing privately, certainly we too can find ways of making the best of this holiday.
Whatever you do tonight, worldly or other-worldly,
may you have a very wonderful Walpurgisnacht and May Day!
Many blessings and stay well!
Walpurgisnacht 1992 is an excerpt from the Originally titled GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins, A Film by Zeena Schreck.
In 1992, during a pilgrimage to several Germanic pagan holy sites, Zeena filmed scenes at the first publicly organized Walpurgisnacht celebration in the Harz Mountains since WWII. In an attempt to remove all traces of religion, including pre-Christian Germanic pagan customs, from the East German Democratic Republic (DDR), public Walpurgisnacht celebrations were banned. Therefore, this footage is a pure document of the people in the Harz region of Germany - the original birthplace of Walpurgisnacht - reviving a long lost tradition, pieced together from scraps of relics and memories from the elders of their community.
An exhibit in the Walpurgishalle was held that year to display Walpurgisnacht folk costumes and decorations which had been gathered from cellars and attics, unused for decades.
The twilight performance footage seen here was held at the outdoor theater, Das Harzer Bergtheater, on the Hexentanzplatz.
From these modest beginnings, the Harz Region now enjoys a thriving tourist industry dedicated to the magnificent Walpurgisnacht festivals they host every year. For information visit www.harzinfo.de
Music in this video is Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60, Ouvertüre: I. Das schlechte Wetter (Bad Weather) by Felix Mendelssohn. Performed by Kurt Masur, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Video footage copyright Zeena Schreck 1992/2020
All rights reserved.