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Tag: Walpurgis

Walpurgis (Valborg) night

Walpurgis (Valborg) night

April 30th (trettionde fjärde) marks, from what I believe, one of the two major holidays in Sweden. It is called Walpurgis Night or Valborg night/festival. Walpurgis Night entails dancing, drinking, bonfires, and maybe an occasional accordion player. The celebrations are in honor of St. Walpurga who was a missionary, converting pagan affiliated Germans to Christianity during the 700s. She took over as abbess of the double monastery of Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm in Bavaria.

May 1st (forstä femte) marks a day off of work for most Swedes and doubles as International Worker’s Day. This is also commonly known as May Day. Protesters occupied some streets of downtown Jönköping. My friend went and said they were from the far left and far right parties of the Swedish political spectrum.


I was in my Swedish language course when my friend asked if I was going to the Valborg festival in Jönköping. I completely forgot tonight and tomorrow were holidays. Usually, if I head to the city I plan to spend the whole day there. I absolutely love commutes (I know fight me) but I do not like to commute back home after commuting to my destination not long before. For this instance, I had my school bag and was not prepared to be outside all day and run around from apartment to apartment. Students at my uni were partying on the “quad” and then going apartment hopping until the clubs at night. I bit the bullet and went home with the intention of coming back to the city later to ride my new beautiful 1970ish bike around with a friend.

Actual is rarely similar to what is predicted. Pass that down to your kids, friends. My inside source told me that the bonfire was not happening in Jönköping, but in a town between the area I live in, Tenhult, and the city. Peep my earlier post about Huskvarna. My legs were eager to get turning so my house mate, Vivek (peep my 2nd post), and I went off to Huskvarna. We met up with two of his friends, and thats when the adventure began.

Vivek and i saw the flames a-blazing from the train. After 20 minutes finding a meeting place with his friends, the flames and smoke disappeared. We asked locals where to find the bonfire (yes, Swedish people do talk and actually love to help out. Do not believe everything on the Internet). We climbed, and rode, the paved hills of Huskvarna until we hit the stairway to heaven. Unfortunately, my rusty stallion became obsolete here. We walked up maybe 200 steps until we arrived at our destination. There was an aging boy/girl scout building on the left, the embers of the once beautiful flames straight ahead, and about 5 booths lining the dirt path up the hill to the right. It was 9pm. This is the point where I make another crucial point about Swedish society. Everything, except bars and clubs, close around 6pm so be prepared. The journey back was also quite the adventure. The rain picked back up and we missed our train by 5 minutes. The next train got delayed 45 minutes so we had to wait an hour and a half at the station, since everything was closed.

Alas, it was not a bad experience. The fire was still hot when we got there. The rain was not too bad. The booths had candy, a lottery, and cotton candy. The scouts’ building had a homemade desert feast benefiting the scouts. The remaining people were still smiling, and running so that was great to see. Vivek told me a lot about his religion. About the various gods and also how most families have a temple just for them. I also had time to listen to a nutrition podcast that I left a while ago. And play a really cool game on my phone.

When one door closes, another one opens. For lack of better phrases I am going to stick with that one.