Walpurgis Eve in Sweden

Walpurgis Eve is an important day in Sweden, a day when people put on their spring clothes and get drunk and dance and are happy and eat good food and look forward to the summer. In Skåne, the roadsides are in bloom, and the leaves are coming out. And out on the plain, the cattle are grazing the spring grass, and the other crops are already sown. Students put on their white caps and trade union leaders get out their red flags from their moth-bags and try to remember the text of Sons of Labor. It will soon be May Day and time to pretend to be socialist for a short while again, and during the symbolic demonstration march even the police stand to attention when the brass bands play the Internationale. For the only tasks the police have are the redirection of traffic and ensuring that no one spits on the American flag, or that no one who really wants to say anything has got in among the demonstrators.

From The Fire Engine That Disappeared (1969), by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

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