My friend was born in Sweden to a Swedish father and American mother, but moved to the United States as a child, so she sat down with me and told me about the different holidays that are celebrated in Sweden. Some were holidays she had celebrated frequently, while some she hadn’t personally celebrated. Since Valborg is celebrated primarily by college students, she wasn’t old enough to celebrate it when she lived in Sweden, but she was still aware of the customs.
“On April 30th, there’s a celebration called Valborg, which dates back to the Vikings, and basically all of Sweden, they light up bonfires along the coast and it starts in Upsalla and goes all the way up. It’s basically done by all the students and they have boat races and barbecues. It’s basically to celebrate the pagan flower goddess, kind of, it’s all about fertility. You’re supposed to remove your hat at a specific point and people march and stuff and it’s basically the guys who do it and that’s like the start of summer.”
This holiday fits in with the other Swedish holidays in that it marks the beginning of a season. Also, although many Swedes are Lutheran, the holidays are not based on Christian religion, but pagan gods and goddesses.
For more information, see: “Walpurgis Eve.” Sweden. Swedish Institute, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.