The Walpurgis night gets its name from the Saint Walpurga who was born in A.D. 710 in England, studied medicine and became a missionary in Germany. She founded a monastery and converted lots of people from heathenism to Christianity and she was known to repel the effects of witchcraft.
The day of her canonization became the Saint Walpurgis night.
Since the medieval times it is believed that during Walpurgis Night witches celebrated a sabbath on the highest peak in the Harz mountains, the Broken or Blocksberg and evil powers are at their strongest.
People light fires on hillsides to protect themselves and their homesteads. In some regions they dress up as witches and demons, make loud noises like whip cracking and dance to scare evil spirits away.
A lot of the old Walpurgis traditions live on in May day celebrations like the dance into May, the May fires and the May trees. It is a welcoming of spring.
In some parts of Germany wooden witches are burned in the May fire, others go around in the villages to play pranks on friends and neighbours. Lovers jump over the May fire together and young man cut birch trees to put in front of their loved ones house.
Do you have any traditions for the Walpurgis night were you come from?