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Nordic FAQ - 2 of 7 - NORDEN
Section - 2.9 Valborg, Midsummer and other festivals

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  2.9.1 Valborg
  
   Val Davies <val@altinkum.demon.co.uk> wrote:
   I recently came across a reference to an occasion called "Valborg" and
   on looking it up in the dictionary find that it apparently translates
   into English as "Walpurgis Night". I confess to being none the wiser.
   :-(
   
   [ Henrik Ernoe: ]
   Valborg is the Scandinavian name for the Catholic Saint Walpurgis.
   Walpurgis is believed to be the patron of witches (this is of course
   not certified by the Church). Her day is the 1st of May. Walpurgis
   night is the night before May 1st. On which nature was suppossed to be
   potent. So if a girl wanted to get pregnant the following year she
   would go and bathe in a holy well or creek on that night. There was
   also a number of magical rituals supposed to make livestick fertile
   that were carried out on Valborgs eve.
   
   [ Antti Lahelma: ]
   It's the 1st of May. A important holiday in these parts; you wear a
   white student cap (supposing you ever graduated), a silly nose
   (optional), drink a whole lot of alcohol and walk aimlessly in the
   crowd downtown. In Helsinki, one of the main events is the crowning of
   a statue of a mermaid (Havis Amanda, a symbol of the city) with said
   white cap. I presume it's old pagan festival to welcome the spring;
   the Christian excuse for celebrating it has to do with a certain St.
   Valborg, a German 9th (?) century abbess who probably did something
   pious that has nothing to do with Valborg (Vappu in Finnish) as we
   know it.
   
   [ Alo Merilo: ]
   In Estonia the Walpurgis Night (in Estonian "Volbriöö") is basically
   when all self-respecting present or past university students who
   belong to either a fraternity /sorority ("korporatsioon") or a student
   society, have probably the biggest party of the year. The tradition
   probably has its roots in Germany.
   
   [ Johan Olofsson: ]
   The festival has its roots in on of the pagan rites to honour the
   return of Spring. In Sweden the important part is the Eve, the last
   day in April, when people make big bonfires and greet the Spring with
   a lot of singing.
   
   
   
  2.9.2 Midsummer
  
   Midsummer's eve is The Greatest Festival during the year. This day
   huge phallic poles are dressed in green leaves and lot's of flowers,
   erected, and then people dance ring dances around it, and play games
   and make babies.
   
   It's easy to see the connection with the pagan rite with the purpose
   to help give good harvests in the autumn. Due to the heavy partying
   no-one is able to work the day after, why at least the Swedish
   government has moved the holliday from the real midsummer's eve to the
   nearest Friday.
   
   
   



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