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Germans set up 'May tree' birches to woo women

UPI News Service, 05/01/2013 

A worker at a German regional forestry service said demand is high each year for birch trees, used by young men seeking to woo women May 1.

The centuries-old Maubaum, or May tree, tradition involves a man placing a decorated birch tree outside the window of his intended on the night of April 30 so she will arise May 1 to see the gift of love, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.

Wolfgang Bongardt, from the regional forestry service at the Kottenforst forest in Bonn, said the office prepares each year for an April 30 influx of men seeking trees to decorate for their beloveds.

"From midday onwards we can expect 500 to 600 trees to be picked up. The guys come in trucks, in cars, and sometimes with some rich parent's Mercedes," he said.

Bongardt said he has noticed the tree-seekers have been getting younger in recent years, with many 15- and 16-year-old boys seeking birches.

The tradition involves the men guarding the trees until dawn to ensure the objects of their affection see the token of their love, leading many men to gather groups of friends to while away the hours.

"We're going to get some beer, just relax and listen to some music until 2 a.m., and then we will start to set up," said a 21-year-old tree purchaser who gave his name as Max.

The tradition holds that a woman who receives a tree is supposed to cook dinner for her beloved as a thank-you gesture. However, on leap years, the men and women are supposed to switch roles, with women providing trees and men cooking meals.

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