A year at Skansen

Spring is an important season in a northerly country such as Sweden. After sleeping through the snowy months, nature comes back to life. Crocuses and snowdrops appear, together with unexpected snowfalls in April. The warmth of the spring sun melts the ice and welcomes back the migratory birds.

Spring at Skansen

Spring at Skansen begins with Easter and Walpurgis Night celebrations. During Easter week, decorative eggs, Easter feathers and rice, marzipan and sweets are sold at the Easter market. There is free entry for children dressed as Easter witches and wizards on Maundy Thursday, when they come to make brooms, write Easter letters and try their hands at arts and crafts.

In Sweden, spring is ushered in on Walpurgis Night. Bonfires mark the end of the winter, and new life starts to emerge. At Skansen, the growing year has begun with themed weekends for building maintenance, craft and gardening. The bears have come out of hibernation, and kids and lambs gambol in the meadows.

On Walpurgis Night, students sing to welcome in the spring and the traditional springtime speech is given before lighting the great Walpurgis bonfire.

June begins with Sweden’s National Day, which is celebrated on the 6th. Skansen’s founder, Artur Hazelius, chose 6 June to commemorate the date on which King Gustav Vasa was crowned in 1523. In 2005, Sweden’s National Day was declared an official public holiday. The celebrations take place on the Solliden Stage, with the Swedish Royal Family attending as guests of honour.

June is a popular month for weddings in Sweden. Many couples choose to marry on Whitsun weekend, and Skansen’s Seglora Church is a sought-after venue. Drop-in weddings were first introduced in summer 2009 to make getting married easier, and have been a great success.

However, the real highlight of the summer is the midsummer celebrations. At Skansen, midsummer week begins with herding the cattle from the Mora Farmstead up to the summer pasture at Fäboden, accompanied by singing and music.
Midsummer weekend is when the traditional maypole is raised by Skansen’s folk dancers, followed by ring-dancing through until Sunday.
The summer has then officially arrived, and an extensive programme of concerts begins on the Solliden Stage, including Sing-along at Skansen and concerts.

Harvest time is here again

August heralds the early harvest. In the central Swedish province of Hälsingland, growing and producing linen was an important source of income. Towards the end of the month, themed linen and wool days are held around Delsbo Farmstead, showing how beautiful linen fabrics are made from the crop.

As the evenings draw in, the leaves on the trees start to turn yellow and the green haze of summer gives way to the crisp autumn air. The last weekend in September sees the autumn market, which recreates rural life around the turn of the twentieth century. The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages. Farmers’ wives, police constables and innkeepers all come together for the market. Many visitors also wear period costumes. The market is a fantastic place to shop, eat and make merry.

Seasonal activities also take place on other weekends in September and October, such as baking bread, harvesting potatoes, root vegetables and apples, and fishing and hunting.

Swedish children have school holidays at the end of October. By then, the days are short and the evenings are dark. This is the perfect time for children’s activities relating to folklore and magic. Lost spirits haunt the Town Quarter and the Grim Reaper, ghostly riders, mylings and other supernatural beings roam freely. Nowhere else is the darkness quite as impenetrable as at Skansen …

Midwinter festivities

Winter at Skansen means Christmas, Lucia celebrations, New Year fireworks and school holiday activities. The Christmas market begins on the first weekend in Advent, running every weekend until the fourth Sunday in Advent.

Here you can buy festive food, bread and buns, Christmas decorations, sweets, gifts and traditional Christmas drinks. Choirs sing carols, and children dance around the Christmas tree. Festive spreads from different periods are laid out on the tables of various houses. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated on 13 December. This traditional festival traces its roots back to Germany and an Italian saint, combined with Swedish traditions from the 18th century onwards. St. Lucia’s Day has been celebrated at Skansen since 1892.

Skansens Lucia pa Sollidenscenen
Skansens Lucia pa Sollidenscenen |

The New Year means that winter is almost over, and the lighter days will soon be here again. This is also a time when we make our resolutions for the coming year. On the Solliden Stage, the old year is seen out with glitzy celebrations, which are also broadcast on TV, and the New Year is welcomed in with a spectacular fireworks display over the water.

Following the busy Christmas period, things calm down a little at Skansen. There are circus performances through until the end of April. From February, children can learn circus skills at the open circus school. Sami National Day is commemorated on 6 February with story-telling and performances, and during the school holidays there are plenty of outdoor activities and winter sports.

Holidays during the year

The Sami National Day is celebrated on February 6.

The Easter holiday offers traditional celebrations and an Easter market.

30 April - Walpurgis Night is celebrated with bonfires, speeches, choral singing and entertainment.

17 May - Norwegian National Day with processions, speeches, music and many visitors wearing folk costumes.

6 June - Sweden’s National Day with the Royal family, processions from the Palace, and a live broad cast from the Solliden stage at Skansen.

Midsummer is celebrated with dancing round the maypole, traditional musical games, folk music from Sweden and other countries.

Autumn market is held every year on the last weekend in September. This is a picturesque market as it might have been in the mid 19th century.

Skansen’s Christmas Market starts on the first weekend of advent, and occasionally on the weekend before that. See more info about dates in our calendar.

Lucia is celebrated on the weekend closest to December 13. See more info about dates in our calendar.

December 31 The year at Skansen ends when we ring in the new year with entertainments and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

You´ll find more information about the events in our calendar.

This is Skansen