There are 2 major holidays in April in Sweden, Easter and Valborg (Walpurgis Night). To experience the traditions in another culture is a great way to gain an increased understanding of another country’s development and history.
Swedish Easter celebration
Easter is often a time for families to gather, like Thanksgiving. Swedish people would eat smorgasbord and serve some of the most traditional Swedish festivity dishes. For example, you could find herring, egg halves with stuffing and smoked salmon on the easter decorated table.
Decoration would be painted eggs but more important the “påskris” which is a bouquet of tree branches decorated with coloured feathers.
Since most Swedish people have a holiday cottage in the countryside, they would celebrate Easter there. Also it will be a good opportunity to visit their cottage after winter.
After the celebration it is time to clean the cottage and start to clear the garden. For sure there will be a lot of branches and twigs to gather and collect for the coming Valborg bonfire.
For many families it has become a tradition to spend Easter in the countryside, in their cottage or on a countryside resort.
“Valborg” and the trend towards backyard bonfire
Valborg is a time to drink, dance and celebrate around a bonfire with family and friends. In Sweden the celebration always takes place on the last day of April.
Many European countries celebrate, around the same time, something similar to Valborg. It has become a tradition to welcome spring and say goodbye to winter.
Traditionally families would gather around a communal bonfire which had been organized by the local village or neighborhood association. This tradition is slowly disappearing as society changes and it is getting harder to find volunteers willing to gather debris from nature and gardens. The rules and regulations to make a fire are also stricter than previously.
However, the countryside resort Ödevata Countryside Hotel & Fishing Camp started, as part of their quest to save the world, a new eco-friendly tradition in 2021- “Biochar Valborg in your backyard”. The idea of the project is instead of having a massive bonfire with hundreds of people, you would have your own small sustainable bonfire in your backyard with close family and friends, and join others doing the same in a video call. They want to reach more people than a physical gathering.
We call it a sustainable bonfire, because the fire isn’t just for display, rather you would cure it to produce biochar instead. You can read more about biochar and its benefits, but in short it is a great sustainable soil amendment for your garden.
If you want to participate in “Biochar Valborg in your backyard” please fill in the form at the end of the article ( in Swedish but translation will soon be done):
Weather in April in Sweden
It will be unpredictable. Perhaps it could be sunny one day and raining the next. Or, it could even snow! However, the days are getting longer so you can spend more time outside. Be sure to wear weather proof clothes.
Things to do, see and eat
- It is a good time visiting Sweden in April because there are less tourists but most tourist places are open. It is recommended to spend the holidays in the countryside, go to a small cafe and the people there will tell you endless stories about Swedish culture. Many rural restaurants even have their unique take on Easter and Valborg.
- The countryside usually offers special Easter celebration, such as egg hunt and traditional Swedish cooking. You can also hike or bike in the forest for the first time after winter.
- If you want to find your own special Valborg bonfire, eco-friendly and without a crowd check out Ödevata in Småland. Here you can learn how to make biochar around the bonfire. Stay overnight, order a smoked fish from the aquaponic green house and have fun throughout the night.
- If you don’t mind the cold waters, you could also swim or kayak in beautiful lakes and rivers. Paddle down stream and see the transition from winter to spring.
- Go hiking on a trail in South of Sweden. The snow has probably melted away.
Cross-border collaboration and learning from each other
In 2021 the Biochar Valborg in your backyard” gathered mainly participants in Sweden. The event was a combination of online and in real life participation.
One of the participants Iwona Slojka from the project Sustainable Cross-border Destination, supported by Swedish Institute wants to take this new eco-friendly tradition even further.
” Experiencing another cultures traditions can be a great stepping stone for opening people´s mind to new ideas. The next step is to develop more cross-border cooperation and learning. In the project Sustainable Cross-border Destinations we just signed a cooperation agreement with Lithuanian and Ukranian partners. Now we will explore the possibilities together”!