Proof that Sweden’s Viking past isn’t too far below the surface, the ancient Walpurgis Night festival, like Midsommar, involves lighting huge bonfires and enjoying the mother of all parties. Originally held as a means of keeping evil spirits at bay, the festival is now held to celebrate the onset of spring and is a national public holiday.
Walpurgis Night in Sweden is a very special event and a great way to experience Sweden’s traditions. Walpurgis (Swedish: “Valborg”) on April 30 is a widely celebrated event in Scandinavia, most of all in Sweden.
Walpurgis Night precedes Labour Day in Scandinavia on May 1 and many Walpurgis events continue over night from April 30 into that holiday.
The forms of celebration in Sweden vary in different parts of the country and between different cities. One of the main traditions in Sweden is to light large bonfires, a custom which began during the 18th century. Lighting the popular bonfires began with the purpose of keeping away evil spirits, especially demons and witches.
Nowadays, Walpurgis Night is usually seen as a celebration of springtime. The Skansen Open Air Museum, for example, hosts Stockholm’s largest historical Walpurgis celebration.
Many Swedes now celebrate the end of long, dreary winters by singing Spring songs. These songs were spread by the students’ spring festivities and Walpurgis Night celebrations are especially common in university towns like Uppsala – the nightlife in Uppsala is especially active then.
Walpurgis (Valborg) being celebrated on April 30 creates a double national holiday in Sweden. On this day, King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrates his birthday. So you’ll see Swedish flags all around the country to salute the King and show him respect.
May Day/Labor Day (May 1st) follows Walpurgis Night celebrations with a wide choice of events, parades and festivities.
Compiled by Daily Scandinavian team