Burning away the blues: a traditional swedish celebration at Skansen

Walpurgis night. Fire burning away the winter blues. Djurgården, Stockholm

Traditional house amongst the birches in Skansen.

Daffodils are absolutely everywhere in Stockholm. In peoples front yards, parks, wild along the streets. And they're all perfect. I've never seen such perfect daffodils in my life. Obviously the climate suits them.
Oktorp farmstead.

Very amused sheep.

It was Walpurgis night on Friday night in Sweden and they were celebrating it at Skansen on the island of Djurgården, (my favourite island in Stockholm). It's an ancient celebration of spring going back to viking times. An enormous bonfire is built of sticks and fallen logs etc and is lit after various songs are sung and dances are performed. The choir was in fine voice and brought a real soulfulness to the proceedings as it sang some beautiful traditional swedish songs that people were humming along to. Unfortunately it was drizzling for most of it but it didn't dampen the fires or the consumption of liquor.

The Swedish flag was fairly conspicuous around town.

It wasn't a particularly large crowd, probably put off by the weather.

Listening to the choir. It was superb singing.

People are eternally entranced by fires since Prometheus gave mortals the gift of fire I suppose.

Glowing faces in the rain.

Hot stuff.

I was looking forward to seeing Skansen which is the world's first open air museum on Djurgården and is one of the most popular attractions in Sweden. It was created in the 19th century to show how Swedes once lived. It's full of traditional houses and farm buildings sourced from all over Sweden and set in these lovely cottage gardens and forests. There was a strong smell of fresh manure and dark soil in the air and I love this smell. It always fills me with hope and satisfaction.
And there's native animals such as elks, bears and wolves and other farm animals as well. I always find higher mammals in enclosures a bit much and I felt like that here too, even though they've tried hard to make a suitable environment for them. They always seem a bit depressed to me. The bears were having fun though. One bear climbed up a tree and was playing with the other bears hanging from the tree. You feel kind of ashamed of your own pleasure at seeing them though. 

Unfortunately the weather was a bit dull at Skansen.

Hällestad bellfry.

This milestone was from 1666. 

Contented ewe and lamb.

Skåne farmstead. Note the roof which is covered in grass.

Ooh I love the smell of soil in the morning.

Skåne homestead and cottage garden. Anybody who works at Skansen would be lucky I think.

This eagle owl was pregnant. Amazing birds.

The ubiquitous dala horse which are in every tourist shop in Sweden. They're cute though and a national symbol according to the travel guides.

It's criminal putting seals in these tiny enclosures.

European bison. Not happy Jan. He's moulting.

Brown bears having a bit of fun in the trees. I had no idea they were so flexible. 

Tree hugger.

Barnacle geese are making themselves at home in Skansen.

Potted flowers.

It seems every suburb all over Sweden had their Walpurgis bonfire and when we got home the place was alive with people and families celebrating into the night. It was nice. Even though people were arrested all over Sweden for public drunkeness I didn't see anyone drunk at all and we were in the middle of the city and on public transport. This definitely wouldn't be the case in Oz.  I don't think Walpurgis will ever catch on in Australia. Perhaps a ritual dance of firefighters spraying water around the fire could be more like it.

I haven't mentioned it at all but Sweden has been getting prepared for a royal wedding in June and Princess Victoria and her fiance Daniel are everywhere in magazines, on chococate (which we've been eating like mad) and on plates and cups and probably a million other things too. I must say I'm getting into it. The royals don't have the same kind of baggage like they do in Australia so you can just enjoy the pomp without the guilt.

Princess Victoria plates and cups. They're getting married at Storkyrkan Church in Gamla Stan (Old Town).

   Riddarholms Kyrkan in Gamla Stan.

 Souvenir shop in Gamla Stan. They're everywhere.

 Saw this film poster at Slussen station and was amused. I might go and see it.

  I love all the horse sculptures around town. Here's  a couple.

Södermalm coke sign. 

 Entrance to magical Gamla Stan.

Stockholm Travel guide:
Skansen is at Djugårdsslätten 49, Djurgården
You can get there by the new city tram 7, or by the Djurgården ferry May to Aug only.


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