Valborg Weekend

Valborg at Skansen, photo: Anna Yu
Edit: This is the entry for 2011, for current info... click here! There is lots to do in Stockholm this coming weekend (April 30th & May 1st)! This Saturday is Walpurgis Night or Valborgmässoafton(Valborg), which is marked by a very traditional Spring festival with singing, torch processions and the lighting of bonfires throughout Sweden. There are a few places in Stockholm where visitors can view this tradition in action. One of the best places is at the Skansen Park on the island of Djurgården. There will be speeches, singing by student choirs and processions all afternoon and evening. The bonfire will be lit at 9pm followed by a concert with Swedish singer Patrik Isaksson. Entrance is 100 SEK for adults and 40 SEK for children between 6 and 15. The easiest way to get to Skansen from the Rival Hotel is by the Djurgård commuter ferry. Another good place to see the Valborg celebrations is in the Old Town, just a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel. It all starts with a concert at the Stortorget Square at 7:45pm, followed by a torch-lit procession at 8:10pm from the square to the neighboring island of Riddarholmen. Here the bonfire will be lit at 20:30, followed by singing and a spring-speech or two. There are several other public bonfire celebrations in the city... contact me at the hotel for more information.
Another event in the city this Saturday (April 30th) is the Cherry Blossom Festival (Körsbärsblommans Dag) taking place in the Kungsträdgården park located in the the downtown area. There will be Japanese inspired music and performances in the park between 1pm and 4pm (sponsored by the Japanese Association and the East Asian Antiquities Museum). Otherwise you can just grab a coffee or drink in one of the many cafés and bars in the park and admire the beautiful flowers. Free entrance!
And finally... Sunday, May 1st (Första maj). Nothing really for non-Swedish visitors, but good to mention in case you are curious about the hoopla in the city. This is the day when workers are celebrated! The main event, put on by the Left Party, is a parade starting at Medborgarplats Square at 12pm and ending at Kungsträdgården park (around 1:45pm). In the park, after the parade, there will be speeches and manifestations as well as some music.


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