Walpurgis Eve

Swedish name: Valborgsmässoafton      Date: April 30th
Walpurgis Eve is known as Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish. On Walpurgis Eve we have big bonfires all across Sweden. Before the bonfire is lit somebody usually make a speak and after that a choir sings in spring. Then we burn up the past years junk, which is what the bonfire consist of, and say hello to spring time.

Walpurgis Eve bonfire in Ekebacken, Lyckeby in Sweden
View from my balcony of the 2010 Walpurgis Eve bonfire in Ekebacken, Lyckeby.

Originally this was a German tradition. Germans believed that witches had witches' sabbath on Walpurgis Night and therefore they used to lit bonfires to keep witches away. But fires were also lit to chase away predators and supernatural beings before animals were placed on pasture for the first time. People around the fires enhanced their intentions by beating on drums, rattling pot lids, screaming and shouting. It was during the 1800s the custom to celebrate Walpurgis night started to spread through Sweden.

And the name Valborgsmässoafton - Walpurgis Eve originates from Saint Valborg (Walpurgis), who has name day on May 1st. She was an Anglo-Saxon prince's daughter who did missionary work in Germany in the 700's, where she eventually became an abbess.


Source: nordiskamuseet.se

/A.L
 
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