Published 29 April 2022

Valborg – a Swedish tradition

Spring is here!

Many of our students experience Sweden for the first time here at SSHL. Valborg is one of the many Swedish traditions that we celebrate to give our students a Swedish experience.

Valborgsmässoafton, mostly called Valborg, is known in English as Walpurgis Night and is an important Swedish tradition marking the beginning of spring and all the tasks associated with spring.

At Valborg there are often songs,  poems and speeches all related to celebrating the arrival of spring.

Bonfires have been an important part of the tradition since the early 18th century. In a rural country like Sweden, Valborg would often be the day when farm animals were let out of the barns for the first time of the year.

The superstitious reasoning for lighting bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) is to keep witches and evil spirits away. A far more practical reason for lighting bonfires on this day is to scare away winter-starved predators while disposing of the leaves and brush cleared away during spring cleaning.

A strong tradition for Valborg at SSHL is to sing, play music and listen to the students’ poems and speeches – and to eat ice cream. (More photos below)