Saturday, April 30, 2011

Valborg välkomnar våren (Valborg welcomes spring)

Today is Valborg day again, the day that Sweden welcomes spring with great anticipation and merriment. In Uppsala the day starts with students racing their assembled and decorated boats/floats on the Fyris river, mainly attempting to survive the river rapids without tipping over. The whole Uppsala is out in town and having picnics in parks. Many old Uppsala students make a pilgrimage back to Uppsala to take part in the "Mösspåtagning", where the rector of the University appears on the balcony of the University library - Carolina Rediviva,  and waves his cap, upon which the sea of onlookers raise their student caps in recognition. The rest of the day is spent in various states and modes of celebration. In the evening people gather in different parts of the city and the Valborg bonfires are lit to officially welcome spring.

Valborg is an original pagan festival which heralded the onset of the growth season. In days long gone, this was the day farm animals were let out to graze for the first time after the winter, and bonfires (majbrasor) have been lit to scare away predators.

Below is a video of the bonfires at Gamla Uppsala (Old-Uppsala) that we also attended last year.

Happy spring to all Northern Hemispherians!


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