03 May 2009

Walpurgis Night in Solna

Already Wednesday before noon when Tue went shopping in Lidl he noticed a sign on the door advertising the opening hours for "Walpurgis and Labour Day" - but didn't really give it any thought. That same afternoon when Tue went to the university for a moment to take care of a few things, the colleagues-to-be were so kind to remind him that he shouldn't forget to go out for Walpurgis. Then he asked what that was all about - and understood that it would involve a bonfire and grilling in order to celebrate the coming of summer. All in all it sounded a lot like the Danish midsummer celebrations, only a litte early, and it turned out that was going to be a bonfire less than 5 minutes by foot from the new residence.

As could be expected the park was full of people and there were stands busy selling coffee, sausages, and large lollipops. The bonfire was lit right around sunset while there was still a little daylight remaining and while the sky darkened and the fire grew there might have been some kind of speech - the Swedish was a little hard to follow but a lot of words were said before the microphone was passed on to a choir and a little band playing horns (not simultaneously, thank goodness). At intervals throughout the rest of the evening the music would be interrupted by the same voice that spoke before, only now to announce missing parents and/or children.

Unlike the Danish midsummer celebrations there was no witch on the bonfire, and quite contrary to our expectations regarding the Swedes' demands for public safety, the embers of the fire were left behind to smoulder unattended (and unlike in the evening before unfenced) for most of Labour Day.

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