As many of you know or have read, Scandinavian winters can be long, dark and cold. Here in Sweden, springtime marks the important renewal of light and hope springs eternal. One thing I love is that it feels as if one day you have gone to sleep and the next you awake to a dramatic burst of color as the bulbs begin to flower all over Sweden. It is quite spectacular really.
To mark the momentous occasion when light returns to one’s life, the beginning of spring in Sweden starts on April 30th on Walpurgis Eve or Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish. The official holiday is May 1st, but the celebration begins the night before.
My experience of Valborg today, is that it feels akin to what we call a block party in the USA. I have been told that bigger cities celebrations are more like a carnival, and the student cities are like an all out, city wide, drunken party, but the celebrations that I have attended are sweet gathering of family, neighbors, and friends. People picnic, drink, sing songs. The kids play and then the main event, the bonfire is lit.