The Witches and Warlocks of Walpurgisnacht

To view more photos and videos from Walpurgisnacht, explore the Brocken location page and browse the #Walpurgisnacht hashtag.

Every year, six months from Halloween, spring festivals in Northern Europe are held to celebrate the eve of May Day. In Germany, the traditional Walpurgisnacht festival welcomes May 1 with witches and warlocks.

On Walpurgisnacht, or “Walpurgis Night” as it precedes the May Day feast of Saint Walpurgis, it is believed witches congregated for pagan ceremonies in places such as the Harz mountains in Schierke, Germany.

Today, adventurous Instagrammers and tourists make the journey up 1142 meters (3747 feet) to Brocken, where costumed revellers dance among bonfires at dawn. Elsewhere Walpurgis parties are held known as Tanz in den Mai, meaning “dancing into May”, followed by a four-day holiday in the country.

Similar witch festivals also take place on this night in Sweden (Valborgsmässoafton), Finland (Vappu), the Netherlands and the Czech Republic (pálení čarodějnic).