It is that time of the year. It is the time when the lilacs, syrenen, bud. All over town – over that particular fairy tale town – there is a sweet smell of spring. It is the time of the year when you can get out the sandals but you need real shoes when the sun goes down. It is the month when the sun wakes you and your bike tires finally make the sound of tire against gravel again because the snow has, finally!, melted. It is the time of the year when Facebook tells me, “Nicola is attending Valborg på Värmlands nation” and “Christian is going to Kvalborg Kathuska”. And it is the first year I am not there, there where one should be, on the last day of April.
Champagne has an important role on Valborg (Snerikes nation, 2014). Obviously, when I speak of the spirituality of spring, I don’t mean the drinking and wild parties. Even though they are an important element, too…
The last day of April never had any significance to me. In Germany, the first of May is the day you celebrate. When I started studying in Uppsala, I was taught what greeting spring really meant. After a long winter, I experienced a rush of happiness when we got to lie in the grass again. The longing, the joy, it was almost spiritual.
“With the sun finally warm again, against her skin, she grows stronger every day. She tells me how exhilirated she feels to hear the first drops of melted snow falling from the roof. And how joyous to see the first tender blades of grass! She says she has never felt more alive.”
This year, I consciously decided to not travel to Uppsala for Valborg. It is part of my fondest memories but it is also the day that can make you feel, oh, so old. But of course there will not – never? –be a last day of April for me passing unnoticed anymore. Today is the day the light, the warmth, the life is welcomed back, and in Hamburg it rains. When I look at the calendar, April 30, 3 p.m., there is that thought of “I should be on Carolinabacken right now, waving that hard-earned hat”. Nothing can compare to Uppsala. But – now the sun just came out, and I will grab that sångbok and lots of warm layers, we will go the beach and light a big fire. We’ll sing all those Valborg songs with the choir and there will be that Valborg speech. All those traditions will be brought here, just a little different, just somewhere else. And even if my heart yearns for that town and its people that I hold so dear, tonight will be a night to make new memories.
At the Uppsala castle 2013, hearing the Valborg speech and songs
Gamla Uppsala Hills 2013, close to the big fire