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Walpurgis Night Celebrations

By April 28, 2012

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Walpurgis Night Bonfire © H. Ifhif 2007Monday is Walpurgis Night! This is a very special event and a great way to experience local traditions like big bonfires and old folk songs, especially in Sweden. Walpurgis (in Swedish: Valborg) on April 30 is widely celebrated in Scandinavia and is a public holiday in Sweden.

On the same date, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden also celebrates his birthday, making this day an even bigger annual event. And the best thing about those late-night bonfires during Walpurgis Night? The event is followed by Labour Day (May Day) in Scandinavia, a public holiday, so no one has to get up early the following day.

Yet if you can't make it to Scandinavia this year, celebrate your own holiday at home by indulging in a few traditional Walpurgis Night / May Day treats. When bonfires light up the night skies across the Scandinavian peninsula, families and friends gather for the season's first picnics, enjoying dishes like gravlax, herring salad, and fresh strawberries. Finns welcome Spring on May 1st by frying up delicate, bird's-nest-shaped Fritters (Tippaleivät) and drinking lemony Spring Mead (Sima).

Co-written by Kari Diehl, Guide to Scandinavian Food & Terri Mapes, Guide to Scandinavia Travel.

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