valborgsmässobål_1

VALBORGSMÄSSOAFTON the 30th of April.

Now we make big bonfires, (to fence off the “witches”)we sing and keep together, some person , mostly the village priest or some representative from the community, is holding a speech to Spring.  Take care!

Walpurgis Night is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht [valˈpʊʁɡɪsˌnaχt], one of the Dutch and German names for the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Francia. In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (Dutch: heksennacht), literally “Witches’ Night”, is believed to be the night of a witches’ meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. The first known written occurrence of the English translation “Walpurgis Night” is from the 19th century. Local variants of Walpurgis Night are observed throughout Europe in the Netherlands, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia. In Denmark the tradition with bonfires to fence off the witches going to the Brocken is observed as Saint John’s Eve – essentially a midsummer celebration “with witches”.

As a memory of the St. Walpurgis/ Walborg, (living between 710 and 779) and her name.I include some facts about the woman. A missionary from England, called to The Frankish Empire ( now Wurtenberg and Franconia) to assist Saint Boniface in evangelizing  the German people. A special cult during the Middle ages was developed where the belief in witches and other evil powers had a great importance. One started in Germany to light big fires, something which actually has its origin in Celtic religion, but the name of St Walpurgis was included in the feasts held for Spring.

So in this early medieval period both Germany and also Sweden were countries of a heathen or pagan belief . It has never belonged to the Christian rites.

©k.c.