The Hans Christian Andersen Center

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Summer, feast, ritual

Description of this motif: Maypole, May Day, Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night is on the day before May Day, May 1st, on which people used to dance around the maypole. Saint Walburga was made a saint on May 1st.

The feast Walpurgis Night has its name after Saint Walburga (In Scandinavia known as Valborg; alternative forms are "Walpurgis", "Wealdburg" or "Valderburger"), born in Wessex in 710, a niece of Saint Boniface. According to a legend she was a daughter of the saxon prince St. Richard. Together with her brothers she travelled to Wrttemberg, Germany where she became a nun and lived in the convent of Heidenheim, which was founded by her brother Wunibald. Walburga died on 25 February 779 and that day still carries her name in the Catholic calendar. However she was not made a saint until 1 May in the same year, and that day carries her name in the Swedish calendar. In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from April 30 to May 1, is the night when allegedly the witches hold a large celebration on the Blocksberg and await the arrival of Spring. (Source: The Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night May 3 2005).


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