‘Twas the Night Before Valborg

…And all through the town, all the students were chugging liquor, especially champagne! Today marks the start of Valborg in Sweden, a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring through drinking, dancing, and other forms debauchery. I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I celebrated the holiday in Uppsala! As I’m feeling super nostalgic today, I thought I would share my Valborg experience back in 2010-2011 during my year abroad.


But let me start by saying: Sweden rages.

Valborg isn’t just one day of drinking and BBQing. Valborg is a three-day long event (four, if you’re really adventurous) celebrating the Spring season. In Sweden, it’s not unusual to experience snow and extremely cold weather until mid-April. So naturally, Spring is met with jubilant Swedes anxiously awaiting warmer weather with champagne bottles in hand.

Our weekend started two days before Valborg, or “skvalborg,” on Thursday afternoon. Clare, one of my main squeezes from Uppsala, was lucky enough to have her birthday fall on this day. We celebrated her glorious day of birth with a picnic, drinks, and a whip cream fight (obviously).


We were looking out for our livers for the rest of the weekend, and decided to keep it easy that night. Considering we had no idea what was in store for us.

On the second day of celebration, or “kvalborg,” it seemed fitting to, once again, celebrate the arrival of spring with a picnic in the center of the Flogsta soundabout. Most international students lived in Flogsta, a housing community similar to college dorms. We gathered our various blankets, our Marabou chocolate, and Swedish cider and spent the afternoon avoiding schoolwork enjoying the sunshine. In the center of this international hub was a tiny little “forest”. It was here that we decided to play a game.

It was a pretty simple game: drink, take a soccer ball, kick people in the ass, miss, join the wall of bad shots, and drink.


Most of us needed a large amount of liquid courage before we joined the wall of pain and suffering. By the end of the picnic, most of us were stumbling back to our rooms. Some of us (cough cough) might not have made it out that night.

Pictures of this wild afternoon shant be shared.

We awoke around 7 am, hangovers merely suspended, to start the official celebration of Valborg. Swedish customs usually included a boat race down the Fyris river, followed by a drunk picnic in the town square and eventually dousing crowds with champagne for several hours. For the sake of our livers, we paced ourselves and decided to wait until we reached the river around 8 am. So responsible.



After a 30 minute stroll from Flogsta to the center of Uppsala, the drinking began.


And with bubbly in hand, we were in for a hilarious and random morning of boat racing.


The boat race was entertaining, but by 10 am, my mind was not on the winner of that race. Our band of international misfits headed over to Ekonomikum park to start our 3rd picnic of the weekend.

This time, we were accompanied with 5,000 others.


We set shop in the center of this hullabaloo and continued to enjoy the strangeness that was Valborg.


I wish I could tell you what happened. For the most part, it was a lot of running around like hooligans, drawing on student’s faces while passed out and trashing the joint. But as time escapes me (and my cloudy memory in general) all I can say was that this was the biggest party I ever participated in! I danced, I drank, I hurled.

My only regret was not going to the champagnegaloppen. Several nations throw a huge party within their respective walls. A line of hundreds wait for a few hours for the doors to open. Champagne is sold on the cheap while the DJ prepares the crowd for that momentous moment: when the bass hits, everyone is soaked with champagne. I mean everyone.

At the time, we couldn’t be bothered with waiting in line. Did they really expect us to stay sober that long?? C’monnnnn.

But if you find yourself in Uppsala this Valborg, please go. If not for you, then go for the little, drunk Sebrin from 2011.

The final walk of shame on Sunday morning



Have you celebrated Valborg in Sweden? Share your experiences below!


0 comments on “‘Twas the Night Before Valborg”

  1. I don’t know what Valborg is, but I do know that my maiden name was Hartquist. I probably had a coupla relatives there!

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