SILLFRUKOST (Herring breakfast)
Come and join us for the traditional start of Siste April/Valborg/30th April: Breakfast with pickled herring (sill) and snaps before we continue the party in Stadsparken with a picnic!
Time: 10 o’clock (drop in between 10-11)
Bring: bread, sill & snaps and picnic-lunch including drinks
Useful info: try to do your shopping at Systembolaget* BEFORE everybody else, i.e before Friday…
We will finish the day with a barbeque in the evening, hopefully in the park opposite Petra’s place if the weather permits – otherwise the barbeques will be placed on the balcony… (if you happen to have a barbeque lying around, bring it in the evening!!).
Kram P & Å
I just found the above email while looking for some photos for my 30th April post – unfortunately I couldn’t find any photographic evidence (as this was before the era of digital cameras)… The email was sent to our “mentees” – Å and I were mentors for some international students at Lund University in the spring semester 2000 (as well as the previous years) (a friend of ours called them our “men-team”, ha ha!). We had a great 30th April celebration that year, and also the year after when we managed to gather more than 20 of our master’s friends in Sweden to show how Swedish students party! Oh the nostalgia…
So, what is the 30th April about? Well, for non-students it is Walpurgis Night or simply bonfire night – towns and villages arrange bonfires** and choirs sing spring songs to celebrate that spring has [hopefully] arrived. Most Swedish adults will have dinner with friends after the bonfire while the teenagers are getting drunk with their friends… However, for the students, at least at the old university towns of Uppsala and Lund, will have been partying since the morning. Most professors will make sure to not schedule any lectures or exams on this day as nobody would show up anyway…
The different universities have their own traditions but in Lund the following schedule for the Last of April (as the date is called there) is followed:
Morning: The herring breakfast (see above email) at somebody’s home – including snaps and pickled herring! The master’s students had their breakfast in Copenhagen 2001 and were given Gammeldansk (Danish aquavit) to start the day before they took the train to Lund…
Midday: Picnic in the park. The international students have all been impressed by the magnitude of the party in the park – EVERYBODY is there, or so it seems… Some take naps on the grass before heading to the next event… and some people bring old sofas to sit on! Today there were up to 15 000 students in the park, probably thanks to the sunny weather – check out some photos in the local newspaper! Unfortunately the party in the park is costing the municipality lots of money every year in cleaning up costs and there are always discussions on how to convince the students to bring home all their garbage (and to not step in the flower beds…).
The same newspaper interviewed some drunk students last year… Quite silly but the film shows the atmosphere in the park…
Afternoon: Games between the student nations (associations) (I never attended these games) and / or so-called champagne gallops at the different student nations – usually live bands are playing and people buy bottles of sparkling wine and dance… it is one of the craziest parties I have ever attended! (You have to buy tickets for the champagne gallop way in advance and they are always sold out the same day they are released) Canadian C took some great photos of the party in 2000 but unfortunately I don’t have them on the computer.
Evening: BBQ at somebody’s home (the student nations also have special parties) – after a long day most people are quite tired and the evening events are a bit calmer… Sometimes people play the Swedish version of softball – brännboll, if they have the energy. In 1999 our French friend M added a French touch to the BBQ with some foie gras, and in 2000 my brother lost his bike, but that’s another story 😉
The next day, 1st May is a public holiday in Sweden and most European countries as it is the international Labour Day. Political demonstrations are organised in all Swedish towns.
However, in Lund the students gather at the main university building in the afternoon to see the student choir (male, former students) greet the spring with traditional songs (more or less the same that the choirs sing at the bonfires the night before). The event was shown live on national TV for over 30 years but was discontinued a few years ago. Nowadays the local TV4 Öresund shows the event. The big question is always – is the university magnolia in bloom? And according to media reports the magnolia blossoms should look just perfect for tomorrow’s big spring greeting!
I would love to be in Lund tomorrow for the choir event, but I am definitely too old and not a student anymore to enjoy the wild parties that took place today. But hey, I can still be nostalgic… 😀
*) Systembolaget is the state owned chain that sells alcohol in Sweden (the so-called alcohol monopoly) … There are always huge queues before big holidays and special events such as Midsummer’s eve, Christmas, New Year’s, 30th April etc.
**) 30th April is traditionally the last day before the summer that you are allowed to make fires without a special permit (for example to burn garden waste).