Walpurgisnacht has its roots in paganism as a festival that celebrates spring. With the arrival of Christianity through northern Europe it has also taken on a similar role as Halloween and is treated as a celebration to ward off witches by building massive bonfires and dancing energetically. In Sweden, it’s a real festivity, as King Carl XVI Gustaf also happens to celebrate his birthday on that day. Although they take place nationwide, most of the more impressive festivities take place in university towns such as Gothenburg. Students of Chalmers University of Technology hold The Cortege parade that sees a strange collection of vehicles while the streets are lined with people in fancy dress.
Some Swedes would have people believe Midsummer is as important an event as Christmas to them while others would say that it is more so. Like a family Christmas, the event has a unique spin depending on individual cultures and traditions but essentially it is a continuous lunch party that lasts well into the night. Communities coming together to raise maypoles, put flowers in their hair and dance in the glorious sunshine. A nationwide event that happens in almost every park and garden in Sweden, you’ll find most of the country singing songs and devouring pickled herring throughout the day.