Posted: 05/13/11 | May 13th, 2011

While I was in Sweden, I was able to experience one of the coolest holidays in the country: Valborg Day.

Held at the end of April, it’s the traditional Swedish welcoming of spring. It’s a time of festivity, food, music, friends, nature, and huge bonfires. In fact, it seems for most Swedes, the whole day is one giant excuse to drink and light a huge fire.

In old times, the bonfires were used to scare away predators before the farm animals were let out to graze at the start of spring. Now, the day has become a holiday where Swedes, long attached to nature and the changing seasons, celebrate the end of winter with a big party.

Many Swedes head out into the country to party with their friends. Celebrations often start with a breakfast including champagne and strawberries in a park.

Most towns have celebrations featuring traditional music, dancing, and a bonfire. The biggest celebration occurs in the university town of Uppsala, where over 100,000 people come to celebrate Valborg.

Uppsala also features students rafting on the Fyrisån River through the town center with homemade, themed, decorated rafts, which usually break and collapse by the end of the race. Needless to say, this is a giant celebration and especially good for those looking to party.

I didn’t go to Uppsala, though. I went to the more traditional Valborg celebration in Skansen. Skansen is an area in Stockholm with a traditional village, zoo, garden, and hiking trails.

During Valborg, they have traditional dancing, music, vendors, and of course, a big bonfire. I enjoyed the music and dancing even though I didn’t understand what they were saying.

Before the bonfire is lit, there was a very long speech about the coming spring, the holiday’s history, and how the bonfire helps chase away evil spirits. The Swedes seemed as bored as I was, and when the bonfire lighting began, the crowd erupted with joy.

After all, the fire was pretty amazing. Here’s a video to show you just want Valborg Day in Sweden is like:

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One of the most interesting things you can do when traveling is taking part in local holidays and festivals. You’ll get to learn a lot about a destination’s history and culture while meeting lots of locals in the process. It will make your trip much more memorable when compared to just seeing the standard sights and tourist attractions.

If you’re planning a trip to Sweden, try to be there for Valborg Day. You won’t regret it!

The music is a Swedish folk song by Yvonne Roome.

Book Your Trip to Stockholm: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:

  • City Backpackers
  • Interhostel
  • Skanstulls

If you’re looking for more places to stay, here for my favorite hostels in Stockholm. If you’re wondering what part of town to stay in, here’s my neighborhood breakdown of Stockholm!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

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  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Stockholm?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Stockholm for even more planning tips!

Europe
13.05.2011 / stockholm / sweden / valborg day
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