Valborgsmässafton (Walpurgis Night): 30 April 2020 

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ATHENA Ethical MEDIA

Valborg, or Valborgsmässoafton is a spring festival. It is celebrated on the last day in April. One can see a large gathering of people in open areas where a bonfire is lit. In Gothenburg, Slottskogen witnesses a largest number of people gathering to celebrate Valborgsmässoaftron with music, and bonfire.

 

Walpurgis Night or Valborgsmässoafton is celebrated predominantly in Sweden and in few northern European countries like Estonia, Finland and Germany. According to www.temadagar.se the festival has its origin in paganism. It informs, “Valborg is initially a pagan festival, but has later been linked with the honor of Saint Valborg. In Sweden and Finland we celebrate today by lighting large fires, which (are) in public (places) are usually called maize fires. Valborg is also celebrated as an academic holiday, mainly in the student cities of Gothenburg, Uppsala, Lund and Linköping.”  The festival is also an occasion for welcoming spring and happy socializing with family, relatives and friends which has its roots also in Catholicism, German saint Walpurigs, and dates back to Middle Ages.

SAINT WALPURGA (VALPURGA, VALBORG): Saint Walpurga (Walburga or Wealdburg or Valpurga or Walpurgis or Valderburg or Guibor) lived circa AD 710 –777/779). She was canonized by Pope Adrian II. She is also credited as the first woman writer in England and Germany for she translated the works of her brother from Latin.

“For the farmer has custom from Hedenhös that the night before the Valborg fair day, fires burn on the ground, to dance around and devote themselves to the coming summer, which is the relic of the old Floralia that existed in Uppland and the neighbouring parishes but scarce in other Swedish provinces.” –Carlo Von Linné (1749)

According to Nordiskamuseet, Valborg is also a festival that marks to protect the livestock and animals from predators and magical powers through fires. It was also a German custom of lighting fires and this spread to Swedish cities and countryside.

You may also want to read:

Valborgsmässoafton in Gothenburg: Massive Audience, Bonfire, Witches, Music