Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Valborg

Today is Valborgsmassoafton. Don't even know what it's called in English (google tells me it's called Walpurgis Night), but in Sweden it's a significant day. It's the King's birthday, (not that anyone really celebrates that) but also it's the day that really signifies us getting close to summer. Because 1st of may is always a holiday (Labour Day), Valborgsmassoafton is the night on which teenagers get hold of booze, usually from their parents' stock at home (in Sweden you can't buy alcohol under the age of 20) and get drunk in various parks.

After finally meeting K yesterday, she reminded me of Valborg. What came to mind was how the days just go by in Ghana and unless you remind yourself, it's easy to drift from one month to another without realising.

In Sweden, because of the contrasts of seasons, you are always reminded of what time of year it is. Around this time especially (and noticeably so in the Swedish blogs I read), everyone is looking out for those signs of summer, knowing the temperature of each day and sometimes even the time at which the sun rises!

Apart from that, the celebrations and events of the year are celebrated so much more than here in Ghana. At Christmas each home is decorated in green and red, with a Christmas tree, Christmas Star and the smell of mulled wine and saffron from the lussekatter. Equally so, at Easter there are yellow feathers in place and Easter dinners of eggs and fish. Around this time of year, studenten is round the corner, i.e. when the 18/19 year olds graduate from college/our 'A' level equivalent. In June, we celebrate Midsummer and in August most homes hold a Kraftskiva, celebrating the harvest of the larger crabs/crayfish(?).

I love those celebrations and traditions and find it a nice way of always having something to look forward to. I think the only thing that comes close in comparison is Homowo for the Gas. (Sorry to the Kwawus, I know you travel to the mountains for Easter but I honestly don't know what happens there). Even Christmas doesn't seem to carry much value in this land brimming over with staunch Christians.

For the past two years, I have tried to hold on to my traditions, but it seems to be a losing battle and towards each holiday, I find myself glancing at the cheap flight deals...

3 comments:

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Nice writing. Nostalgia is so pervasive in this one. Maya, can you even deny where your heart really is? Oh, and, FYI all ethnic groups have festivals to rival Homowo or any other in Ghana :-)

Maya said...

Oops, sorry, you'll have to tell me more about these festivals. My heart may be in one place but my home is in another, and I wouldn't have it any other way. ;)

That's the beauty of having two home lands!

Maya said...
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