Valborg (Walpurgis in English) is a pre-Christian seasonal tradition where folks say goodbuy to Winter and hello to Spring. These days it involves an evening party with a big fire, often made of your Christmas tree and any spring tree prunings or other garden debris (or hey, that ikea bookshelf that broke in November and has been in the garage ever since). Valborg is always on the last day of April. This is convenient since it also often involves a lot of drinking and the next day, May 1 (May Day), is always a holiday from work so one can sleep it off.
It is always fun to experience new traditions. We were very happy to be invited to our friends Camilla and Urban’s Valborg party, to have a nice evening and also see what a real Swedish Valborg looks like. We had a great Swedish feast: 3 kinds of herring (sill), 2 kinds of salmon (smoked lax and gravad lax), Vasterbottenostpaj (Quiche made with a special cheese from the Umeå area in the north of Sweden, and which I hope to make for you in Canada one day!), Jansson’s frestelse, great salad, two kinds of homemade focaccia, small potatoes, taco pie, and all the fixings like red onions, creme fraiche, and chopped dill and chives, and Swedish mustards. It was awesome! We ate dinner in a solarium, and then went out to light a fire in the yard and also see some fireworks in the distance and for the kids to light firecrackers. Then we went in for dessert: ice cream with cloudberry sauce (the berries were painstakingly picked by Urban’s parents up north) and we brought some choco-dipped almond crescents and choco-dipped orange biscotti. It was very cozy, there are no lamps in the solarium but lots of candles and the light from the fire outside. We also had a great combination of martini aperitifs, wine and snaps with dinner, after-dinner drinks and grogg rasberry cocktails, so we definitely had the authentic Valborg and May first experience. It wasn’t the warmest day this week, but warmer than it has been and it was a pleasant (if anaesthetized) bike ride home, arriving home to our apartment (officially) on the first day of May.