Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Valborg

Valborg

Valborg is a Swedish holiday that you almost have to experience to believe. I've found a few pictures from last year to give you a little glimpse of this holiday through a Swedish looking glass. Today is chilly, occasionally rainy and very, very windy. I keep wondering if the show will really go on, but, honestly, Swedes are so robust about the outdoors that I'm sure the fire will be lit at dusk tonight --- on schedule.
The year our first born baby was born --- as one does in Sweden --- we wrapped up our baby and pushed our him in his baby buggy to the local park to see the neighborhood Valborg Bonfire. Once there, my maternal alerts buzzed into high:  my instincts were to flee, as you could feel the heat from the less-than-ordinary-bonfire from a distance.

After watching and warming, I did reluctantly step a little closer to the edge of the singing circle of kids and families; watched the fire and listened to the traditional Swedish children's songs. Every one looking on, had the feeling of this post card about them (click here).

Many years later .... it's still a holiday that's not from my childhood but, we sing and attended a Valborg Fire every year and we all look forward to it. (I do more , now, that the kids are no longer running toddlers!)  Like many, we grill out with friends and then, walk on down to the Valborg Fire.  I do, however, maintain a foreigner's distance and humility to the flames. Honestly: can you believe how massive these bon fires are? Although the boys enthusiastically gather sticks (which is over 1/2 of their fun)  ---- as you can see above, other kids are run close to the flames --- I encourage any stick tossing only before the start of the flame! The kids have already been working new angles this morning about that kindling we can take with and are asking if we could take our dry, old, Christmas Tree to add the the pile, because "after all, someone added a chair last year!" True.
If you are invited to a Valborg Party, here are of my favorite items to take:
Above Left: 1. Camp Fire Cup Cakes (click here)
Above Right: 2. Hand lettered Bouquets (Click here).
(Why not wrap up fire-colored roses with a message)

Whether or not, today is a holiday where you live, we wish you a very happy day. But, I have to ask: does Valborg exist anywhere else in the world? I'm so curious. If it does, I'd love to hear from you. I'm endlessly fascinated with holidays and traditions around the world.  Happy Valborg Wishes!

Something you might like:
Valborg and Campfire Cupcakes


7 comments:

  1. A Finnish friend of mine is sad to be missing "Vappu Walburgis" today - so I guess it's not just Sweden!

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    1. Thank you! "Vappu Walburgis" to you, then, today, too!

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  2. I'm with you on being fascinated by traditions around the world! But I'd also be fearful of such a large fire, particularly with a lively toddler... eek! A place near us (I'm in the U.S.) builds a bonfire around Halloween for a pumpkin carving night, and when I was in high school there would be a bonfire pep rally the evening before each football game... that tradition was done away with around the time of a severe drought and then was never revived. It was probably an insurance headache for the school!

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    1. I'm so very happy to hear from you. I love the story book idea of pumpkin carving and Halloween. Thank you for sharing and I think of that every year -- these fires just wouldn't happen, in this manner, in the US. Yes, my heart skips several beats on this day.... Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

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  3. Fascinating! This is *not* something we'd want to try in the heat of Singapore, but it looks good on a chilly day. There is something about it that seems to take one back many centuries...

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Yes, I agree -- it does feel connected to another time!

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  4. In Britain there is an old festival called Beltane which may date back to the iron age. It is essentially a forerunner of mayday, such as it lies halfway between the equinoxes. As with all of these ancient celebrations it's all about fire and feasting. In more recent times it has been appropriated by people practicing wicca and neopagans. We had a little campfire in the woods.

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Thank you!