Midsummer celebrations
Photo: www.imagebank.sweden.se
© Fredrik Sweger/Lou B.

Life in Sweden

Holidays and Festivities

Apart from ordinary Christian celebrations such as Easter and Christmas, Swedes have a number of holidays and festivities that celebrate nature and the changing seasons, and that often reflect old pagan rituals.

Walpurgis Night (Valborg) celebrations take place on the last day of April. Large bonfires, symbolizing the driving out of winter and seeing in the new spring, are lit all over the country and accompanied by singing of songs and drinking. If you feel like taking part, the student towns of Uppsala and Lund are the places to be.

Midsummer (midsommar) is a traditional celebration of the summer solstice, with many people dressed in traditional folk costumes, dancing around a maypole, eating and yes, you guessed it, drinking.

Lucia is celebrated on the 13th of December, with processions of children dressed in white robes and holding lighted candles in their hands and singing special Lucia songs. Leading the procession is ‘Lucia’, a girl chosen to bear a crown of candles on her head. Traditional saffron buns called Lussekatter are eaten on the day.

Northern Folk >>