Traditional Walpurgis Night celebrations kick off in Tartu tonight and end on May 1.
Walpurgis Night, or Volbriöö in Estonian, has become an annual celebration for student organizations in Tartu. One of the most awaited events of the year, the celebration unites different generations of alumni and students.
Walpurgis Night starts with the procession that brings together academic student organizations. The Mayor of Tartu and the Rector of the University of Tartu greet the procession that the townspeople gather to watch. Following the public procession, each student organization holds its own events that are not open to public: performances, concerts, report nights, carnivals, initiation rites, joint singing and beer tables. At midnight the corporations and societies open their doors and members of student organizations visit each other.
The celebrations usually last until early hours of the next day and can end with various entertaining activities - from a joint singing on the streets of Tartu to a boat ride on Emajõgi – the river flowing through the town.
The celebration of Volbriöö in Estonia originates from Germany and originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches. Local variants of Walpurgis Night are observed across Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland.
Incidentally, May 1 is a public holiday in Estonia, called "Spring Day" (Kevadpüha).
Editor: S. Tambur