Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Can you tell me about - Walpurgis Night?

I'm looking for information on how people celebrate Walpurgis Night in Sweden. This is what the wonderful internet has taught me...

"Walpurgis Night is a traditional religious holiday, celebrated by Pagans, Roman Catholics, and Satanists alike on April 30 or May 1 in large parts of Central and Northern Europe.

The current festival is in most countries celebrating it named after Saint Walpurga, born in Devon about 710. Due to her holy day falling on the same day, her name became associated with the celebrations. Walpurga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration. Early Christianity had a policy of 'Christianising' pagan festivals so it is perhaps no accident that St. Walpurga's day was set to May 1st.

In Sweden, Walpurgis (Swedish: Valborgsmässoafton or Valborg) is one of the de facto public holidays during the year. 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 is most firmly established in Svealand, and which began in Uppland during the 18th century.[citation needed] An older tradition from Southern Sweden was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight, which were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task is to be paid in eggs.

The tradition which is most widespread throughout the country is probably singing songs of spring. Most of the songs are from the 19th century and were spread by students' spring festivities. The strongest and most traditional spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, like Uppsala and Lund where both current and graduated students gather at events that take up most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or "sista april" ("The last day of April") as it is called in Lund and elsewhere throughout the country. There are also newer student traditions like the carnival parade, The Cortège, which has been held since 1909 by the students at Chalmers in Gothenburg."

How do you celebrate it? And what day do you usually celebrate it?

Tack (p.s I now know many more words - I will show off in my next blog entry)

1 comment:

  1. hahaha oh lord steve this is good! first i was "what iiis that"?? walpurgis?! Aaah VAALBORG! the thing is that there is an important fact missing, what do swedish people do on valborg? light bonfires - yes
    get ourselves so drunk we cant separate head from arse? - yes! (and here, again, finnish people are even worse. and yes ive spend many valborgsmässoaftonar in the moomin valley with many sweet memories - or not)