Valborg 2023

Skansen wishes a very happy Valborg to us all, complete with this unobstructed view of the bonfire (which from our vantage point we only saw the top)

The end of another April means another Valborg. Like last year, there are large outdoor public gatherings with bonfires. This year we went to Skansen’s event, to make the most of our annual passes. There was some fun electro-folk music by Symbio, and we got some traditional-ish Swedish dinner at the cafe: fried herring, veggie ‘meat’ balls, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. We walked around to see the Swedish farm animals and the blooming wildflowers (a little further ahead in the city than in Tullinge). It was crowded, and by the time we joined the large group by the bonfire we were at an awkward angle to hear speeches or view the bonfire. Still, the Valborg choir in traditional dress was great and could be enjoyed even without understanding all the words. There are many traditional springtime songs for Valborg, and singing is always part of it.

Here is the Swedish text of (arguably) the most traditional Valborg song:

LÄNGTAN TILL LANDET (“Vintern rasat”)

Vintern rasat ut bland våra fjällar,
drivans blommor smälta ned och dö.
Himlen ler i vårens ljusa kvällar,
solen kysser liv i skog och sjö.
Snart är sommarn här i  purpurvågor,
guldbelagda, azurskiftande,
ligga ängarne i dagens lågor,
och i lunden dansa källorne.

Ja, jag kommer, hälsen glada vindar.
Ut till landet, ut till fåglarne.
Att jag älskar dem, till björk och lindar,
sjö och berg, jag vill dem återse;
Se dem än som i min barndoms stunder,
följa bäckens dans till klarnad sjö.
Trastens sång i furuskogens lunder,
vattenfågelns lek kring fjärd och ö.

and here it is in English:

Winter Has Gone (Longing for the Countryside)

Winter has gone among our mountains,
the flowers of the drift has melted away and died.
The sky smiles in the bright evenings of spring,
the sun kisses life in forest and lake.
Soon the summer is here in waves of purple,
gold plated, shifting in azur.
The meadows lay in the blazes of the day,
and in the grove the sources dance.
Yes, I am coming, say hi to happy winds,
out to the countryside,
out to the birds.
How I love them, to birch and lime-trees,
lake and mountain, I want to see again.
See them still, as in the moments of my childhood,
follow the dance of the creek to a sea of clarity.
The song of the thrush in the groves of the pine woods,
the waterfowl’s play around bay and island.