Walpurgis Eve 2016 @ Embassy of SwedenShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
A day of significant wind gusts did not augur well for our favourite bonfire night at the Embassy of Sweden’s huge spread in Yarralumla where significant long established trees could have been part of the burning. But wisdom prevailed and while guests arrived early the lighting of the much smaller bonfire this year was delayed until the wind settled and we’d had time to consume a few body warming glugs. This mulled wine dulls the senses rather nicely and the local committee’s secret recipe, with the traditional additions of raisins and slivered almonds in the bottom of your mug, was dispensed from large containers where it must have stewed for some time for this delicious concoction that is teamed with a good handful of a hot dog with all the trimmings.
It is an event for Walpurgis Eve (Valborgsmassoafton) and the Embassy of Sweden celebrates by inviting the local Swedish community, families and friends who’ve come to love this significant time of the year they’ve transported to Canberra and while here the weather is somewhat similar – the end of their winter and the start of ours - the reason for Walpurgis is definitely part of a long tradition harkening back to a bit of some good old pagan rituals.
Ostensibly it’s a celebration of a welcome to spring and the spring cleaning that precedes it creates the combustible collection for some mighty big bonfires in Sweden where the lighting at dusk is a community affair as families gather to sing along with the local choirs, students don their white caps knowing that lessons are over and the next day – May Day - is a holiday and partying is a must.
The fire burned bright, glowing in this dark corner of Yarralumla, with the warmth appreciated on what might just have been the turning point in our own weird weather. The embassy choir sang their songs and the Swedish national anthem that by now I should know the words to, and the glug was good. Very good.