• Mirja McLean-Engstrom and Leonard Weiss

    Mirja McLean-Engstrom and Leonard Weiss

  • Kristin and Rob Ginnivan

    Kristin and Rob Ginnivan

  • Annika Johansson

    Annika Johansson

  • Pero Blinnikka and Charlotte Copeland

    Pero Blinnikka and Charlotte Copeland

  • Harry Powell, Nicola Powell, Peter and Elisabet Hawker and Emily Ozolins

    Harry Powell, Nicola Powell, Peter and Elisabet Hawker and Emily Ozolins

  • Leila Snape and Ellie-Mae Snape

    Leila Snape and Ellie-Mae Snape

  • Lieke Bos, Benjamin Baker, Benjamin Martin, Joelle Van T Wout and Louisa H Bergman

    Lieke Bos, Benjamin Baker, Benjamin Martin, Joelle Van T Wout and Louisa H Bergman

  • Eugenie Joltreau, Clement Fernandez, Charlotte Rixten, Evelyn Kassberg and Alexandra Dolves

    Eugenie Joltreau, Clement Fernandez, Charlotte Rixten, Evelyn Kassberg and Alexandra Dolves

  • Cecilia Andersson with her children Billie and Caydie Carson, Mima Andersson and her daughter Mika Herbertson

    Cecilia Andersson with her children Billie and Caydie Carson, Mima Andersson and her daughter Mika Herbertson

  • The Swedish Embassy choir.

    The Swedish Embassy choir.

Walpurgis Eve 2016 @ Embassy of Sweden

1 May 2016

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.