Every year I say I will be in Sweden the last day of April for one of my favorite traditions – Valborgsmassoafton. Yet every year comes around and with Luke in school flying back home is not an option. The last night of April Swedes gather around giant bonfires and sing songs to welcome spring. My mother is in love with this night and catches a few celebrations just so thrilled that the deep, dark winter now has an end in sight. I remember these nights vividly when I was a kid. Riding my bike for the first time of the year in the chilly spring air in awe of the giant fires. It’s easy to forget living in Virginia with summer temperatures that back home some people are still skiing! Valborgsmassoafton gets everyone’s spirits up knowing warmer temperatures and lighter nights are coming.
If you want to read more about the tradition you can do it here.
All images various Swedish blogs and sources.
All kinds of places have big bonfire celebrations. It was originally done on Easter to scare away witches, but since the 19th century it’s on the last day of April (and have nothing to do with witches! )
As you can see people are not standing around in shorts!! It’s still cold over there!
Some places still have snow on the ground.
It’s a magical evening of toasting and singing in the dark night.
Often mens choirs sing songs about how the winter is disappearing and how spring is rapidly coming.
No Swede really remembers or knows that Walburgis was a saint (I think!) all they can think of is that soon they can wear shorts! And what better way to get rid of garden trash than a big fire in the yard?
Valborgs celebration at a Swedish Ski resort.
Living in a country covered with snow for several months, the sight of the first spring flowers make people seriously giddy. It makes them feel alive again. And as my mother said this morning on the phone, it gives her tons of ideas of things she wants to do!
“Vitsippor” the first spring flower.
Appreciation for nature lives deep in the Swedish soul. I don’t think you’ll find a country where they talk more about the weather!
To all my friends back home, summer is coming, soon you can bike without mittens! Promise!
NEXT VALBORG I will be home….seriously what’s better more homework, or an unforgettable memory?