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loki

Walpurgis Eve & May Day celebrations in Sweden today

A mailing list post directed me to the official Sweden Tourism website, which had the following article up. In it it ties "singing" with it's traditions. Although it points to the origins as being Christian, rather than pagan.



Walpurgis Eve and May 1st


It’s not a coincidence that some of the world’s most famous pop stars are Swedes. Sweden is a nation of singers, and indeed many Swedish traditions involve singing.


Walpurgis bonfire
Photo: Frank Chmura/Nordicphotos

Songs for spring and Sweden
If you want to find an evening when song is to be heard in every village, town or city, then be sure to be in Sweden on the 30th April. On that date, known as Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Eve); in a tribute to an ancient German saint, St. Walburga, huge bonfires are lit at dusk. As the fire grows in intensity, singers from local choral groups come forward to sing songs that celebrate the end of winter and herald the arrival of spring. The same songs are sung across the country. The most famous singers of these Walpurgis Eve songs are members of the student choirs at Uppsala University, and Lund University. Students at these institutions have been singing tributes to spring for several centuries.


Celebrating through the night
Walpurgis Eve is a night of celebration, for young people especially.
High school students in their final year, wear their white studentmossor ( student caps) and celebrate the fact that their exams are over, spring is on its way, and they will soon graduate. The partying generally caries on into the wee hours, long after the fire has burnt down to embers, as the following day, May Day, is a public holiday.

May 1st
The first of May is May Day, an important day for the workers’ parties. It is a public holiday that encourages political manifestations. Workers take the chance to march through the streets of their town or village, carrying banners or flags, marching in time to the sound of bands, blowing whistles, and otherwise demonstrating. School children sell plastic första maj blommor, (mayflowers), with the money going to charities that support children and young people.

Author: Tsemaye Opubor Hambraeus
Source: Visit Sweden.com

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