It was Valborg yesterday. Basically a Swedish celebration welcoming spring that is very much student oriented in places like Uppsala. In Stockholm it seems to give a chance for teenagers to get drunk. Actually that seems to be the case throughout Sweden. And there are big bonfires also. A glorious time really.
Since there was no work today (remember it’s a red day), and most people only worked a half day yesterday, I partook in the festivities. Kind of. On a sidenote, the half day off thing was news to me. I found out Tuesday evening around 5:30 when I was leaving work. Not being versed in the way of the Swedish workplace and off days could really result in a lot of labor abuse. Seems like it would be pretty easy to take advantage of the foreigners who don't realize they have a day off. Luckily, I'm just so on top of things, or at least know enough Swedes that can set me straight.
Anyway, DCP and I hung out with the cousin and watched a large bonfire. Which was pretty impressive. And hot. Very very hot. I have a new respect for fire fighters. Then we went and had some homemade Tex-Mex food and booze. All in all, pretty entertaining.
Granted we didn’t go all out like the teenagers. Apparently Valborg is also synonymous with teenage alcohol poisoning. Which there was plenty of also according to most of the news reports I’ve seen and read. So to celebrate the spring you drink and burn shit.
What I thought was so interesting was the paganistic feel to it all. Here were a bunch of Swedes standing around a huge bonfire in order to celebrate the spring. It was incredible. And this happens throughout Sweden. Bonfires everywhere.
The country managed not to go up in flames. Probably in part because of the rain. Which, according to most Swedes, is also a tradition of Valborg. So you’re celebrating the spring in the cold driving rain while drinking and lighting bonfires. This is an amazing country.
Welcome to Sweden.