Twenty-five years ago tonight, I was at a bonfire in northern Sweden. I was astounded by the size of the thing — like a house burning.
It may not look like night in these photos, but remember that we were very near the arctic circle. By late June it hardly got dark at all.
Note the snow still on the ground.
The occasion was the last night of April, the beginning of May. I noted it in my journal as Walpurgis Afton, though now I read the proper term would be Valborgsmassoafton. In English it’s called Walpurgis Night, but the German name Walpurgisnacht is perhaps more famous. Beltane and May Day are also at this time. People call these spring festivals but I think they represent the beginning of summer. I wish we had a fire pit for a little bonfire tonight. Ah well. We are filling up the pool and having a party tomorrow. I’ll be serving cucumber-mint gimlets. We may even have a maypole. Stop by Sunday afternoon (roughly 2-6 p.m.) and join us.