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Walpurgis Night 2023: Date, History, Facts, Activities

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to pagan fertility rituals and the advent of spring. The pagan celebration was interwoven with the story of St. Walpurga,

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Walpurgis Night or the Mass of Saint Walpurga is observed on April 30 in portions of Northern and Eastern Europe, from Sweden to the Czech Republic. In German-speaking countries, it is known as Walpurgisnacht, in Sweden as Valborg, and in the Czech Republic as arodejnice. Walpurgis Night is sometimes referred to as “the other Halloween.” On April 30, for instance, a traditional Walpurgis Night ritual involves the burning of a witch effigy over a campfire. This is bonfire night in Sweden, which was once believed to ward off evil entities but is now a fun way to dispose of excess garden waste.

The background of Walpurgis Night

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to pagan fertility rituals and the advent of spring. The pagan celebration was interwoven with the story of St. Walpurga, an English-born nun who resided at Heidenheim Abbey in Germany and became its abbess after the Norse were Christianized. Numerous locals believed that Walburga had cured their maladies. St. Walpurga is associated with May 1 due to the mediaeval legend that she was canonised after her remains were transferred from their burial location to a church in 870.

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The 30th of April is halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Beltane, a Celtic festival celebrated on the last day of winter and the first day of summer, is associated with this date.

According to Germanic folklore, the inhabitants of the Harz Mountains in central Germany believed that witches rode through the sky on April 30, designating the day Witches Night (Hexennacht), and maintaining a coven atop Brocken Mountain. The townspeople lit bonfires to frighten witches and ward off evil entities, as witches disliked smoking. It was believed that witches disliked noise, so they would sound church bells and bang pots and pans. They would also pray to Saint Walpurga, whose feast day is April 30 (just in case).

In the ninth century, St. Walpurga brought Christianity to the region. She is the patron saint of dog attacks, rabies, and whooping cough patients. Her intercession is called upon for protection against witchcraft.

If chasing away witches on Walpurgis Night wasn’t exciting enough, it was also the end of the administrative year of the Middle Ages, which would have been a good enough reason to unwind with a flagon of artisan-crafted mead and toast something delicious around a bonfire.

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Create a conflagration

Walpurgisnacht without a conflagration is like Christmas without a tree. On the tallest hill in a community, enormous bonfires have been lit for centuries to frighten away spirits from the unseen domain.

Drink as much as your heart desires

Walpurgisnacht, along with New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick’s Day, is generally regarded as a night of great pleasure. On Walpurgis Night, delicious honey wine is traditionally consumed.

Display spring blooms

Walpurgis Greenery is used to celebrate both night and Christmas by embellishing rooms with foliage. Instead of evergreens, this time of year sees the blossoming of spring foliage: flowers, shrubbery, and, if possible, oak branches.


Neopagans refer to the event as “the second Halloween” because it shares many similarities with Samhain (October 31) and the lighting of bonfires.

Walpurgis Night festivities combine pagan Celtic and Germanic customs with Christian traditions encircling the veneration of Saint Walpurga.

The origins of modern celebrations can be traced back to Beltane, the Celtic festival of rebirth.

It was believed that the night of April 30 marked either the springtime awakening of troublesome spirits or the final opportunity for winter’s evil forces to inflict havoc on the living.

It is said that Walpurga’s Oil, extracted from the saint’s shrine and mausoleum, has curative properties.


Year Date Day
2023 April 30 Sunday
2024 April 30 Tuesday
2025 April 30 Wednesday
2026 April 30 Thursday
2027 April 30 Friday
Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan is a Commerce graduate who loves to write on general and trending topics.

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