The first of May, also known as Labor Day, was just a holiday day for me until I came to Berlin. No matter how hard you try to describe to other people that have never been to Berlin what goes on here, you cannot fully understand it until you experienced it. You have to be there. And as they say, what has been seen cannot be unseen.
The first of May is a day when you see children innocently sliding down slides at the park with really wasted people lie scattered around in the grass taking a break from drinking. And that’s not even the craziest thing you will see. Maybe that’s why Berliners are just different because they are raised from the crib straight to the party. All their life they are exposed to the most unusual situations and therefore embrace randomness, spontaneity, and surrealism.
photos: Alejandro Arretureta
When you are walking down the street on your way to Görlitzer Park being part of this human river flowing through shattered glass on the asphalt, you are right in the heart of the experience of the first of May. Along your way, you’ll encounter barricaded store fronts (reminiscent of the times when May Day was rather a violent revolt with flying bottles and burning cars than the peaceful street party it has become in the last years), live music under the train tracks, drum circles, a party in every bar, people sitting outside their window ledge enjoying both the party inside their flat and the hectic revelry on the street. It’s just a great vibe. And with the sun shining (if you are lucky) it’s just great to blend into the crowd of people jumping with the rhythm of the music.
Not only your first time is unforgettable, but to witness the first time of a friend is even better. To see that stunned look on their face because they can barely believe what it’s going on around them. And the best thing is that you never know how your day is going to end. You even might end up dancing to Destiny’s Child “Say my name” in front of a line of police vans with 10 police officers dramatically staring at you, because on the 1st of May nothing is impossible.
photos: Khun Minn Ohn