2020-05-01 (Sköna maj välkommen!)

Today, I learned about:

Nothing is like it used to be. Yesterday was April 30, the day that Sweden is used to celebrate the arrival of Spring with various fun events during Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis night). The whole story started already during the 8th and 9th century in England. You can read more about it in reference #1 below.

One popular tradition on that day in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second biggest city, is the Cortège, when the first-years students at Chalmers University of Technology give their review of the events of the preceding year in a carnival-style parade. The header photo today was taken during the Cortège in 1977. I had the pleasure of participating in it two years earlier and I must admit it was really a treat.

Another tradition on that day is to light bonfires as a way to keep the evil spirits away, and especially in the old university cities of Uppsala and Lund people gather to hear the students choirs sing their traditional songs praising Spring.

But, nothing of that sort happened yesterday. The COVID-19 pandemic impeded all those traditions to be celebrated once more. It was therefore a pleasant surprise what Radio Sweden had in store for us.

The classical music channel P2 had invited its listeners to contribute in a special way, by recording their voices and faces when singing the traditional song Längtan till landet (I am longing for the countryside). See reference 2 below for the P2 page and reference 3 for the video with the song.

And if you want to sing along with all the other 707 singers in the choir, here are the lyrics:

I dedicate this post to my dear old friend Bosse, who took so well care of me from the moment I first arrived in Brazil. He loves this kind of music, his idol is the late Jussi Björling, need I say more? For those who do not recognise that name, let us compare him to later day tenors like Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras. See also reference 4 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Walpurgis Night

2: Hela Sverige sjunger in våren!

3: Hela Sverige sjunger i P2:s valborgskör

4: Jussi Björling

*: What did you learn in school today ?