Today is Valborg, Walpurgis night, in Sweden. An unofficial holiday, followed by the official red day on First May, Valborg is celebrated as the welcoming of summer.
When you ask Swedes what Valborg is, the response is, “another day to party and drink.” And indeed it is. Valborg is typically celebrated with a champagne brunch in the park or outside and celebrations begin by the 30th afternoon.
In the evening, large bonfires are made to ward off the spirits and witches.
For the Swedes, Valborgsmässoafton is a pagan holiday but is well associated with Saint Walpurga who died on February 25, 779. While the February date is listed in Roman Martyrology, her remains were placed next to her brother on May 1st. Finland and Sweden retains the latter date.
Þorbjörn says “In Göteborg, Valborg is pretty much synonymous with Cortegen. The Cortège is a huge parade and party throughout the streets of Gothenburg and created by the students from Chalmers Technical University.” A great way for the nerds of Chalmers to put on a huge party in the city.
Stockholm and other cities in Sweden don’t have anything similar to Cortège though Uppsala has its own massive parties.
If you want to see the celebration of Valborg in Sweden today, check out your local newspapers where bonfires will be held. In Stockholm, the locations/times are: Vasaparken – Odenplan 19hr, Riddarholmen 20.30hr, Skansen Park 20hr. Otherwise follow the smell of burning wood and thousands of Swedes are drinking champagne and dancing.