After a bit of rabble-rousing and mayhem, the witches and demons took off on broomsticks, pitchforks, and billy goats at midnight.
So what were the ghosts up to? Their plan was to prevent the so-called Queen of Spring from entering the country. To protect themselves, local folks would hide their billy goats, pitchforks, and broomstick from the witches. Men made loud noises with guns and whips current day fireworks and lit fires current day bonfires to scare away the demons.
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In some areas, cows were driven through the fire to secure their fertility, and young couples would jump over the fire to ensure everlasting love wonder how that worked out. Skip to main content. There is a similar tradition in the Schanzenviertel district of Hamburg , though in both cases, the situation has significantly calmed down in the past few years. While the name Walpurgis is taken from the eighth-century English Christian missionary Saint Walburga, Valborg , as it is called in Swedish, also marks the arrival of spring.
Walpurgis celebrations are not a family occasion but rather a public event, and local groups often take responsibility for organising them to encourage community spirit in the village or neighbourhood. Celebrations normally include lighting the bonfire, choral singing and a speech to honour the arrival of the spring season, often held by a local celebrity.
Walpurgis Night or Hexennacht was believed to be the night of a witches
In the Middle Ages, the administrative year ended on 30 April. Accordingly, this was a day of festivity among the merchants and craftsmen of the town, with trick-or-treat, dancing and singing in preparation for the forthcoming celebration of spring. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls. Walpurgis bonfires are part of a Swedish tradition dating back to the early 18th century.
At Walpurgis Valborg , farm animals were let out to graze and bonfires majbrasor , kasar lit to scare away predators. In Southern Sweden , an older tradition, no longer practiced, was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight. These were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task was to be paid in eggs.
Choral singing is a popular pastime in Sweden, and on Walpurgis Eve virtually every choir in the country is busy. Singing traditional songs of spring is widespread throughout the country. The songs are mostly from the 19th century and were spread by students' spring festivities. The strongest and most traditional spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, such as Uppsala and Lund , where undergraduates, graduates, and alumni gather at events that last most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or siste april "The Last Day of April" as it is called in Lund, or sista april as it is called in Uppsala.
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For students, Walpurgis Eve heralds freedom. Traditionally the exams were over and only the odd lecture remained before term ends. On the last day of April, the students don their characteristic white caps and sing songs of welcome to spring, to the budding greenery and to a brighter future. More modern Valborg celebrations, particularly among Uppsala students, often consist of enjoying a breakfast including champagne and strawberries.
During the day, people gather in parks, drink considerable amounts of alcoholic beverages, barbecue, and generally enjoy the weather, if it happens to be favorable. In Uppsala, since , students honor spring by rafting on Fyris river through the center of town with rickety, homemade, in fact quite easily wreckable, and often humorously decorated rafts. Several nations also hold "Champagne Races" Swedish : Champagnegalopp , where students go to drink and spray champagne or somewhat more modestly priced sparkling wine on each other.
The walls and floors of the old nation buildings are covered in plastic for this occasion, as the champagne is poured around recklessly and sometimes spilled enough to wade in. Spraying champagne is, however, a fairly recent addition to the Champagne Race. The name derives from the students running down the slope from the Carolina Rediviva library, toward the Student Nations, to drink champagne. It is seen by around , people each year. Another major event is the gathering of students in Garden Society of Gothenburg to listen to student choirs, orchestras, and speeches.
An important part of the gathering is the ceremonial donning of the student cap, which stems from the time when students wore their caps daily and switched from black winter cap to white summer cap.
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The university organizes student choir songs, there are different types of entertainment and a speech by the president of the university. Different stalls sell hot dogs, candies, soft drinks, etc. As in all Germanic countries, Walpurgisnacht was celebrated in areas of what is now the Netherlands. Still, in recent years a renewed interest in pre-Christian religion and culture has led to renewed interest in Heksennacht Witch's Night as well. The party called for a ban. That such a festival even existed, however, and that it was 'Satanic' was rejected by most others.
In Lincolnshire Walpurgis Night was observed in rural communities until the second half of the 20th century, with a tradition of hanging cowslips to ward off evil. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the eve of the feast day of St Walpurga. For George Balanchine's ballet, see Walpurgisnacht Ballet.
Germanic festival celebrating the start of summer. Walpurgisnacht at the open-air theatre in Heidelberg. Main article: Saint Walpurga. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
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Christianity portal Holidays portal. They Do What? Early Christians in this region believed that, during Walpurgis Night, evil powers were at their strongest, and people had to protect themselves and their livestock by lighting fires on hillsides. A handbook for travellers in southern Germany.
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In the Church of St. Walpurgis are preserved the remains of that Saint. They are interred beneath the high altar, and a stream of oil, which obtains the highest repute for its medicinal qualities, flows from them, between the months of October and May. On St.
Walpurgis' Day, May 1, many thousand pilgrims repair to her shrine. Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary 18th ed. Cambridge University Press. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary 3rd ed. Celebrating Life Customs around the World. During the Walpurgisnacht Walpurgisnacht, or Walpurgis Night, is one of the names given to the night of April 30, the eve of Saint Walpurga's feast day that falls on May 1.
Gordon Religious Celebrations. Her feast day commemorates both the movement of her relics to Eichstatt and her canonization, both of which occurred on May 1. Yushodo Press Co. After leaving Mainz, she went to Heidenheim, Germany, where she was made the abbess of the local convent. After his death, she took over his position. In her time she oversaw the baptizing of many pagans, in the local Heidenheim Brunnen.
After her death, the walls of her tomb began oozing a healing oil. Because of this miracle, she was canonized, and her body was subsequently chopped up and dispersed across Germany and France to spread the miracle to everyone.
Rabies comes in. And you will see Spindles and sheaves of grain carved into monuments or shrines devoted to her.
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