North Americans can be forgiven for thinking that “Walpurgisnacht” translates roughly as “Night to Purgis on Wall.” How else to explain the sudden spike in staggering, swilling, purgissing partyers on the night of April 30?
(“Saint Walpurga?” Right. Unlikely story since she died in February not April. And besides, no saint demands that kind of all night veneration, not even after exams.)
No it’s the witches, obviously. Walpurgisnacht, April 30 marks the end of the Season of the Witch. If Halloween can be thought of as their season opener, then Walpurgisnacht, April 30 is like their annual general meeting. On this night, witches of the world will fly, as they have for centuries, to various secret mountain top locations to compare notes of their witchy deeds, celebrate their witchy successes, hand out some witchy achievement prizes and other typical AGM-y kind of stuff.
Team building exercises for instance. As with most AGMs, it’s the team building games that hurt most. Nothing builds witch morale faster than toying with a tourist, especially those humans who insist on trying to locate and crash these exclusive pagan parties on foot. Who will wake up on May Day – if they’re lucky – with a vague sense of fear and shame, but (thankfully) unable to remember a single thing that happened to them, a phenomenon known as “getting walpurgissed.” Nowhere is this more common than in Germany, homeland of the witches’ Mecca – or Vatican or Salt Lake City (pick one) – that legendary Brocken Peak in the Harz mountains, where the biggest, witchiest Walpurgissing meetings and parties take place.
So don’t be one of the Walking Walpurgissed! Take precautions, starting tonight. It’s a full moon and the first waves of witches have begun brooming their way around the globe to the appointed peaks. Inevitably a significant number of them will experience “broom trouble” along the way. As a result, whole groups of witches will touch down, very possibly in a field or on a building near you. If you see this – stay away! No matter how attractive or friendly they may first appear. With the clock ticking down to April 30 a witch will stop at nothing to get back on the highway – or skyway in this case. Above all, do NOT offer them a ride! This is a HUGE insult to any witch and they WILL broomjack you, guaranteed.
Ancient people knew this, they used to build giant bonfires to scare them and even burn their own brooms so they couldn’t be jacked by these rideless witches. Today unfortunately, this is not advisable, what with fire ordinances. So just lock them up instead. Seriously, lock up your brooms, all of them in a closet or a heavy box. Somewhere far away from you. Even if the broom is made of plastic and other synthetic products because while in theory a witch probably can’t control it, in practice… you never know. Maybe lock up the vacuum cleaner too, just to in case.
And if it doesn’t save your life – it might just save you having to clean up this week. Worth a try anyway.