Bonfire night is a tradition going back way before Guy Fawkes and his associates tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605; having a big blazing fire, lots of japes, traditional food, a big feast before winter sets in… that must go back millennia! However, we don’t have a similar celebration to cast off winter and welcome in the longer, better days. In Northern Europe, many countries do have an end of winter festival, Walpurgis Night.
Walpurgis Night is the night of April 30th, and actually Saint Walpurga’s day eve. She was an 8th-century abbess who had come from Devon (not far from where we live!) to the Kingdom of the Franks – who, so I understand it, were mainly Germans – or where Germany is situated today. However, as Guy Fawkes Night took over a much older festival, so St Walpurga’s Eve did the same – it is the night when witches meet so it’s necessary to have bonfires and noisy celebrations to keep them away! People enjoy the fun these days across Northern Europe, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, the Baltic states…
If only I had realised earlier, I could have made some special doughnuts, traditionally eaten! Here is a link to more doughnut details, and a recipe:
… and here is some more information about Walpurgis Night: