On Sweden’s Valborg-Walpurgis Eve on April 30th Swedes are lighting bonfires to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. From the beginning the traditions comes from Beltane which is the Gaelic May Day festival. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. These traditions got adopted by the Vikings and came to Sweden, where they later was blended with the German Walpurgisnacht and made into a Christian celebration for the Saint Walpurga. Today people in Sweden gather by the light and heat of the fire to listen to choirs performing a number of traditional spring songs.”Valborgsmässoafton” as you can see is an ancient pagan custom. It was done to scare off predators before the cattle and sheep were let out to graze but also to protect people against evil spirits believed to be gathering on this very night. In German folklore Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (literally “Witches’ Night”), is believed to be the night of a witches’ meeting, so of course there was much need for these bonfires!
|30||Office and warehouse close at 13:00|
|1||May Day, Office and warehouse closed|
Once the fire dies there’s time for a few hours sleep before it’s time to get ready for the May Day processions and speeches. This is an annual manifestation day of the Swedish labor movement and has been celebrated all around the country since 1890. May Day became an official holiday in Sweden in 1939.