Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Walpurgisnacht - April 30


The Bonfire of Walpurgis Night celebrated in Stadparken in Lund, Sweden

Here is information on the holiday from Wikipedia:

"Historically the Walpurgisnacht is derived from Pagan spring customs, where the arrival of spring was celebrated with bonfires at night. Viking fertility celebrations took place around April 30 and due to Walburga being declared a saint at that time of year, her name became associated with the celebrations. Walburga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration.

"Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of April 30 (May Day's eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their Gods..."

"Brocken the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre and for witches' revels which reputably took place there on Walpurgis night. The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken."

Walpurgis is one of the main holidays during the year in both Sweden and Finland...The forms of celebration in Sweden vary in different parts of the country and between different cities. One of the main traditions in Sweden is to light large bonfires...An older tradition from Southern Sweden was for the younger people to collect greens and branches from the woods at twilight, which were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task to be paid in eggs.

Today in Finland, Walpurgis Night (Vapunaatto) is, along with New Year's Eve, the biggest carnival-style festivity that takes place in the streets of Finland's towns and cities. The celebration is typically centered on plentiful use of sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages...One tradition is drinking mead, whose alcohol content varies. Fixtures include the capping of the Havis Amanda, a nude female statue in Helsinki." ...(Cont.)...

More info...
Walpurgis Night - The Other Halloween
Walpurgis Night in Germany
Sweden - Walpurgis night 
Walpurgis im Harz - singende Hexen
Die Irrlichter in der Walpurgisnacht
Walpurgis Night
Walpurgis Night
The Walpurgis Night - Russian 
Die Erste Walpurgisnacht
Walpurgisnacht auf Schloss Guteneck
Walpurgisnacht 2005 in Mauerpark, Berlin
Walpurgisnacht 2009 Krawalle Berlin Hamburg
Die Pilzen - Heia Walpurgisnacht