GERMANY (KTHV) - Germans celebrated Walpurgis Night, the night before May Day. This celebration is similar to Halloween as it has to do with supernatural spirits.
Germans celebrate with bonfires to drive out the winter cold and welcome spring. Walpurgis Night is celebrated mainly in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Germany.
Walpurgis gets its name from Saint Walburga, a woman born in what is now England in 710. She traveled to Germany to become a nun. Following her death in 778 she was made a saint with May 1 as her saint day.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Walburga is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors. In 748, St. Walburga was traveling by sea with other nuns and when the weather turned bad, St. Walburga prayed on the deck and the weather calmed down. Sailors said this was a miracle.
The Brocken, the highest peak in the Hartz Mountains, is the focal point of Walpurgis as the mist and clouds above it give it a mysterious aura, contributing to legend that's where witches and devils live.
(Source: About.com/Catholic Encyclopedia)