April 30, 2014

Valborg (Walpurgis) Celebrations in Stockholm

Photo by Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
(EDIT: Click here for updated information for this year) Tonight is Valborgmässoafton (or Walpurgis Eve) here in Sweden! This is a great, traditional spring celebration where Swedes gather in the evening, light bonfires and sing traditional songs. Tomorrow, May 1st, is a bank holiday (International Workers Day) so younger celebrants can get a little rowdy. But it is all in good fun. There are official bonfires being lit tonight throughout the city, but if you are staying at the Rival Hotel then there are two that are conveniently close to the hotel... if you wish to witness and partake in the festivities.
Valborg at Skansen, photo by Dan Larsson
The first is in Gamla Stan and Riddarholmen. A torch procession starts at the square Stortorget in Gamla Stan at 8:10pm and winds its way through the old town to Riddarholmen where the bonfire will be lit at 8:30pm. There will be entertainemnt in the form of an orchestra, choir, open microphone and fireworks. They will start selling torches at Stortorget at 7:45pm if you wish to be part of the procession. The second celebration is at Skansen on the island of Djurgården. There will be things (concerts, speeches) going on all afternoon and early evening... but the all important bonfire will be lit at 9pm. Happy Spring!

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