I first discovered May Day, or the first of May, when I was backpacking in Australia in 2006. It’s not something I saw much of growing up in the United States, but abroad, the holiday seems to have some serious traction. And Berlin—that epicenter of cool—has a tradition of being an always interesting and sometimes volatile place for May Day demonstrations.

When I lived in an apartment off Oranienplatz last year all I heard was how I *needed* to be in Berlin for May 1st. Ze Germans take their protests quite seriously, apparently, and I didn’t want to miss the action. Though the city flocks with Nazis and other right-wing groups for May Day, Kreuzberg fills with peace and love and hippies. Or something like that.

I obviously skipped the scarier parts of town during May Day, but made a point to see what was happening in and around Kreuzberg for all the peaceful and fun festivities. And it was s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r! People set up tables selling food and beer on the street. The entire area north of Kottbusser Tor was blocked off as a pedestrian-only area. And with stages set up (and some make-shift ones, too) in various shop windows and on the street corners, there was live music in every direction.

Though it was a beautiful sunny day, the skys did open up at one point with the biggest raindrops I’ve ever seen. They fell few and far between, but enough to make a splash. But it didn’t seem to stop the people in the street—we kept dancing in front of Luzia (the place to be) and eventually the rain disappeared. I spent most of my afternoon meeting up with friends (sometimes randomly). MyFest certainly did a great job of keeping people happy and calm—and with a massive police presence, I don’t think there was much trouble.

My friend Nicole also wrote about MyFest 2012. Read it here. The official page for MyFest is http://www.myfest36.de/.

Most of these photos and the video footage came from Alex—thanks!

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  4. The city flocks with Nazis for Mayday? What are you talking about, dear sir?
    Anyway, a nice celebration indeed!!

  5. May Day is a day of celebration in many countries around the world. Today in many countries in Europe it also has become a celebration of spring and beer and food and….

  6. Quite an interesting festival. Looks like people are having fun – there goes the German stereotype! :)

    • Adam

      LOL at the German stereotype!

      But yeah, this was a bizarre and fun festival..

  7. Labour Day (1 May) tends to be lively all over Europe, with political speeches and parades, food and drink and general fun. Especially if the weather is good. Looks like you had a good time :)

    • Adam

      Hey Sophie,
      Yeah – I was surprised to see it was such a big deal in Europe because it’s not really in the US. Definitely was exciting! Felt like the true start to summer…

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