May Day and Valborg


Sweden has a Bank Holiday on Thursday for May Day and on the Wednesday evening the Scandinavians celebrate Valborg..


alborg is celebrated in Sweden in  ways, always depending on the part of the country. Lighting large bonfires is a popular celebration in eastern parts of Sweden like in Svealand or Uppland, where people gather material for their bonfires for months ahead. Lighting bonfires is an ancient custom related to keeping away evil spirits, demons and witches.

Nowadays Valborg is just seen as a celebration of springtime, but for a feel of the good old Viking days the Skansen Open-Air museum still celebrates Stockholm’s largest and most historical Valborg celebration.

For most of the Swedes though, Valborg just means the end of the winter season and there is no better way to celebrate it than singing Spring songs. Spring songs and choral singing are very typical of the Swedish Valborg celebrations, with many of the traditional songs dating from as back as the 19th century. The most popular and traditional spring festivities are held in the old university towns of Uppsala, Lund and Gothenburg, with its famous carnival parade.

Current and graduated students party all day and all night, and even perhaps longer than that, wearing all the time their characteristic white graduation caps. Valborg is a double national festivity in Sweden because King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrates his birthday on Valborg’s day, 30th of April. Swedish flags are raised all around the country to salute him and show him respect.

May Day (May 1st) follows the Valborg celebrations with a wide choice of events, marches and demonstrations taking place across the country to celebrate the working class’ rights. The 1st of May is a public holiday in Sweden, and many Swedes spend the day either attending the celebrations of political parties and trade unions, or simply enjoying a picnic outdoors with friends and family, weather permitting.





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On Valborg I will go to a party on Gamla Stan, beef stew apparently which will ruin my diet, oh well. I am still off the booze though and havent had a proper drink since around Easter time. Cant say I miss it either.

On May Day, my dear friend Miguel wants me to go and watch the Communist rallies. Miguel and I go way back to our Young Liberal days so yes we are both political anoraks really. I may go if I have time though Nick the Swede has invited me to watch Hammarby away at Syrianska which is  team made up of Assyrians I believe from Södertalje. Sounds like a great day off, politics and football!


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