A night of song and fire

The songs are an essential part of the Swedish Valborg celebrations, and some of the most famous ones include Längtan till landet (Vintern rasat)Vårsång (Glad såsom fågeln) and Sköna maj, välkommen. With lyrics welcoming the spring and the much-needed light after a long winter, they are usually performed by choirs around a bonfire. While there can be no public gatherings around the fire this year, you can still listen to the classic songs on SVT (the Swedish public service television company) who are broadcasting a Walpurgis concert recorded at New Älvsborg Fortress in Gothenburg.

During the concert, that can be viewed on SVT play from 2 am on April 30 and on SVT1 at 6.45 pm on April 30, you can listen to Rytmus Youth Choir with Adna Kadic and classical cello and oboe tunes performed by Carolina Grinne and Jonas-Franke Blom. The artist and songwriter Stefan Andersson will be the host and will also be performing his own songs.

Last year, Swedish Radio offered a digital Walpurgis choir, that you can listen to here:

Walpurgis – the students’ night

Valborg is an important part of student life in Sweden, where it marks the approaching end of the academic year. In Gothenburg, students from various associations gather in the park Trädgårdsföreningen where they listen to live music and put on their hats together. This will not happen this year.

There is also a large caravan called Cortègen that makes its way through the city every Walpurgis night since 1909. The carriages feature self-made vehicles and other entertaining constructions with shows performed on top of the trucks. Every year, hundreds of thousands of locals gather in the city centre to watch the parade. This year, there will be a mini version of the event, with carriages displayed in shop windows around town.

The Swedish Mayflower throughout the years.
The Swedish Mayflower throughout the years.

Flowers for a cause

Wondering why everyone suddenly has a little paper flower on their coat? Majblomman, the Mayflower, is a charity tradition dating back to 1907 that was founded in Gothenburg by a woman named Beda Hallberg. Originally collecting money for people suffering of tuberculosis, the Mayflower organisation now focusses on fighting child poverty.

The flowers are sold by school children and various associations from mid-April and come in a new colour every year. Look around and you’ll see plenty of them by the Walpurgis bonfire!