The real end of winter, that is in short what the Swedes at Valborg celebrate with large bonfires known as Majbrasa. Until April it can be changeable and cold again. From the beginning of May they look forward to summer days. It’s an age-old tradition in Sweden.
Valborg is the abbreviation of Valborgsmässoafton. It is also an old Scandinavian name for the sacred Walpurga or Valborg.
The Swedes used to believe that on this night the witches flew to Blocksberg in the Harz Mountains to celebrate their Witches’ Sabbath. They danced there in the form of goats with the devil.
Valborg takes place on April 30th, on the eve of May 1. Moreover, since the Middle Ages, April 30 has been the end of the fiscal year for traders.
In the past, they kept Valborg to usher in the beginning of the growing season. With this event, they wanted to drive away evil, such as witches and evil spirits. They did this by lighting large fires and making a lot of noise. In this way they thought that the land would be cleansed from the dry and dead winter.
History of the Valborg festivities
Originally, this is the night that the Germanic goddess Freya is worshipped. Her nickname is Lady of Valburgia (house of the fallen). She is the goddess of love and fertility. The Germanic (pagan) celebrations were banned when, around the 10th century, Emperor Charlemagne wanted everyone to believe in the Christian god. People continued to do it anyway and especially at night they visited the shrines where the rituals used to be performed.
Every year, the Swedes celebrate a joyful Valborg celebration to welcome spring. The most popular part of this party is when the Swedes share champagne and strawberries for breakfast before heading out into town with their friends.
Today, Valborg is celebrating spring, the month of May means stable, warmer and sunnier weather. Something that everyone is looking forward to!
Valborg in Uppsala and Lund
Valborg is big, especially in the two big university cities, Uppsala and Lund. Here you will find the student version of Valborg. Guaranteed to fill your day with music, joviality and plenty of booze!
See also the official website of the Valborg celebrations in Lund.
The majority of Swedes celebrate Valborg in a traditional way: with a crowd by a bonfire. With such a typical bonfire, the mass heats up with a view to the sea of flames. With a little luck, you will experience an experience where the masses sing odes in the spring with their Valborg beer in hand.
Photo credits: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se
Last Updated on April 28, 2022