Happy Valborg!  The First of May is an important date in the Swedish calendar- winter is officially over and spring is welcomed.  On Valborgmässoafton, the eve of Valborg ie 30th April, Swedes literally burn out winter by having huge bonfires and celebrate the start of spring with much merriment involving a lot of booze, dancing and drinking songs.

I went to a rather civilized Valborg celebration last night, organised by the Anglo Swedish Society, at the Savile Club in Mayfair.  We couldn’t really start having huge bonfires in the heart of London but we did enjoy a lot of champagne and schnapps plus a good dinner in the beautiful eighteenth century ballroom.  We were entertained by some highly talented young musicians and everyone got very into the singing (half my table was English so there were some extremely dodgy pronunciations of the classic Swedish drinking songs); we welcomed in the spring in a hearty manner which seems to have been highly successful given the very sunny weather in the UK today.  The Swedes are brilliant at marking the seasons of the year with celebrations and I am grateful to them for coming up with Valborg at some point in the Middle Ages.


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