Walpurgis Night – the way we celebrate it!

The name Walpurgis is taken from the eighth-century English missionary Saint Walburga, ”Valborg”, as it is called in Swedish, and has very little to do with religion and everything to do with the arrival of spring. The forms of celebration vary in different parts of the country. Walpurgis celebrations are mostly a public event, and local groups often take responsibility for organising them to encourage community spirit in the village or neighbourhood. Young people and students in the university cities usually celebrate by gathering in thousands, eating and drinking together on the campus lawns.

Valborgsmässoafton. Sankta Walburga, var ursprungligen ett medeltida helgon, och vi firar denna afton före vårens intåg på lite olika sätt i olika delar av landet. Men de stora eldarna har vi gemensamt. På 1700-talet var det brukligt att släppa ut djuren ur lagårdarna denna dag, och bålen tände man för att hålla angripande rovdjur borta.

Svenska ungdomar, i alla fall i universitets- och högskolestäderna, brukar samlas i tusental för att äta och dricka i parker eller på gräsmattorna till campus.


In the Middle Ages, the administrative year ended on 30 April. Accordingly, this was a day of festivity among the merchants and craftsmen of the town, with trick-or-treat, dancing and singing in preparation for the forthcoming celebration of spring.

Huge bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival for 1 May, and they are part of a Swedish tradition dating back to the early 18th century. At Walpurgis (Valborg), farm animals were let out to graze and bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) lit to scare away predators.

16 reaktioner på ”Walpurgis Night – the way we celebrate it!

  1. Wow, I didn’t know this about Valborg and that it had an English tradition.
    In Denmark they have the bonfires on Midsummer Night. And in Belfast they have them in July … It’s like Halloween, it comes original from Scotland & Ireland. I thought it was all an American thing.
    Thanks for the research, I learned something new … today too. Lovely post.
    Where was the photos taken ???? Lovely surroundings.

  2. I am not familiar with this tradition, so thanks for helping me learn all about it. Sounds like a fun community event. It is great to keep these traditions alive. It sounds like they tie the community together.

    • They do! So you do not celebrate something like this at all? Even if you have your spring/summer entrance in our autumn/winter – maybe you have another date in another month – I was thinking.

      • No. We don’t have bonfires, welcoming spring festivals or many traditions at all. Winter is really mild , but I am not sure that is the sole reason. Lighting fires is also very dangerous here. The whole forest could catch alight. ( bushfires)

  3. En fin tradition … Tyvärr är jag sällan delaktig eftersom jag alltid haft hund … Eller jobbat … Men i år berodde det nog mest på att jag legat till sängs däckad av denna eländiga bacill … // Maria 🙂

  4. Wonderful stuff, Ann-Christine ! I particularly love the crowd of spectators; and can easily understand your losing your heart to that little black number … 🙂

    • 😉 I love the little ones. Suddenly they come rushing – 30-40 of them together – jumping over stones and fallen trees, hunting each other and throwing their legs in every direction…Pure entertainment!

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