Party on Swedes! Valborg and Cortège in Sweden

View of Södermalm and Bonfire
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.

Amazing transport ball bearing

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.

Happy Summer!

6 thoughts on “Party on Swedes! Valborg and Cortège in Sweden”

  1. To be honest, few swedes know the history behind valborg. It is far more known for a day to get insanely drunk hehe. Me for example, I can hardly remember valborg, my only reminder is a few bruises so either I got into a fight (unlikely) or I did something stupid and fell down into something hard (very likely lol). Getting drunk as hell on this particular day is tradition. =D

  2. :((( u guys are making me so jealous…:) im not allowed any alcohol and havent been out to celebrate ANYTHING for 6 months already and got a minimum another year to go like this…:((( baaahhhhh…

  3. Well, technically there is nothing corresponding to Cortegen on Valborg. However, every 3rd year in May in Stockholm, something called “Quarnevalen” is organized. Students at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) get together and build wagons/cars/things on wheels for a week, finishing off with a parade through Stockholm and a huge party. Since I’ve never seen Cortegen, I don’t know how well they correspond, but I imagine it’s sort of the same :) Those years that “Quarnevalen” isn’t organized, instead (in May, still) there is a smaller event called “Squvalp”. Basically it means that students (usually from KTH, still) get together for a day, instead of a week, and build boats instead of cars. These are then paddled in the water for a while, then deconstructed and everyone finishes off with a huge party. “Squvalp” is much smaller and not as visible to the general public as “Quarnevalen” is, but still very fun! I participated in my first “Squvalp” now in the beginning of May :)

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