Today’s Pictures: Celebrating Spring’s Beginning

Daffodils assert their personalities this time of year

Spring, in all its many guises, has finally come to this part of Sweden.

Flowers are in bloom, tree buds are opening, and grey skies have (temporarily) turned to bright sunshine. 

Celebrations of the change of season over the past few days have included the bonfires of Valborgsmässoafton or Walpurgisnacht, the Christianised celebration of what was originally a pagan ceremony to welcome the warmth of the sun.

The Celts celebrate the 1st of May as Beltane, but in Germany, Finland, Estonia, and a few other countries, including Sweden, the holiday is named after a Christian missionary from England of approximately 710 A.D., Saint Walpurga.

From the evening of April 30th through the 1st of May, all of Sweden stops working for a day and a half and celebrates the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.

Bonfire for Walpurgisnacht or, in Swedish, Valborgsmässoafton

First there was the night of the bonfire around Lake Växjö, including fireworks. The next morning, runners raced around the lake.

Colors, running

Later in the day, the Röd Front Communists; the Left Party (who were once called communists but are now far-left); and Social Democrats each held rallies in the park.

The Left Party even sang a song about being on the left, which I have named The Vänster Song (vänster means left in Swedish).

   

My favorite signs of spring have nothing to do with fires or running or politics, however.
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