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Walpurgis at Skansen, Stockholm
Walpurgis Night stems back to the early 1700s and is celebrated each year on 30 April.
Photo credit: Henrik Trygg/Visit Stockholm

Walpurgis Night (Valborg) and May Day

This is the night of the bonfire in Sweden, traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits, but now a festive way of getting rid of excess gardening odds and ends.

Walpurgis, Valborg (short for Valborgsmässoafton), or 'the last of April', is a traditional spring celebration in Sweden. For students, it's a foretaste of summer. At dusk, bonfires are lit and people gather to listen to speeches and songs welcoming spring and a brighter future.

Expect a lot of Swedish flags around as King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrates his birthday on Walpurgis. The day after, on May Day, there’s a host of parades and festivals.

When is Walpurgis and May Day in Sweden?

Walpurgis Eve is on 30 April and May Day is on 1 May.

Who can celebrate Walpurgis?

Family, friends and lovers. Any excuse for a bonfire and singing.

How to do it like a local:

Just sing or hum along and be happy in general about the fact summer is coming.

What to do on May Day?

1 May has been a public holiday in Sweden since 1939. Many choose to spend the day at a demonstration for workers' rights.

Where can you celebrate Valborg?

Walpurgis is celebrated all over Sweden, most often people gather at a local park. Here is a selection of Valborg events from north to south:

Borlänge, Dalarna: Experience a different Walpurgis night with a fire show inside the old iron ore mine Äventyrsgruvan.

Karlstad, Värmland: Traditional celebrations with speakers, choral singing and a large bonfire in Mariebergsskogen city park.

Uppsala, Uppland: Valborg in the university town of Uppsala is a people's party, as almost 100.000 people usually gather in the Ekonomikum Park.

Stockholm: Skansen, a historical open-air museum in Stockholm, holds the largest Walpurgis celebrations in Sweden. You can expect a traditional evening with choral singing, a spring speech, a bonfire and fantastic views over Stockholm.

Gothenburg, West Sweden: Students gather in the park Trädgårdsföreningen to listen to live music. A large caravan called Cortègen, with entertaining self-made vehicles, has been going through the city on Walpurgis night every year since 1909.

Lund, Skåne: In the university town of Lund, there are several celebrations. The largest one, with bonfires, choral singing and spring speeches, takes place in the city park, Stadsparken

Read more about Walpurgis and May Day at sweden.se.

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Walpurgis Eve

On Walpurgis Eve, April 30, Swedes welcome spring by lighting huge bonfires and celebrating the end of a long winter by singing songs for spring.

Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se

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Walpurgis Eve

Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se

Walpurgis Eve at Skansen

Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se

Walpurgis Eve

Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se