advertisement

The dates given here may in some cases be only approximations. Be sure to check with the tourist office before you make plans to attend a specific event. For information on Walpurgis night and midsummer celebrations, call the local tourist offices in the town where you plan to stay.

January

Kiruna Snow Festival, Kiruna. The biggest snow festival in Europe takes place in this far northern city under the northern lights, featuring dog-sledding and reindeer racing. Call the Kiruna Lapland Tourist Bureau for more information at tel. 0980/188-80 (www.snowfestival.se). January 27 to February 1.

Gothenburg Film Festival, Gothenburg. Entering its fourth decade, this festival attracts film buffs from all over Europe, showing 400 movies, often months before their official release. For more information, call the Gothenburg Film Festival at tel. 0303/339-30-00 (www.filmfestival.org). January 23 to February 2.

April

Walpurgis Night, nationwide. Celebrations with bonfires, songs, and speeches welcome the advent of spring. These are especially lively celebrations among university students at Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Umeå. Visit www.scandinavica.com/culture/tradition/walpurgis.htm for info. April 30.

May

Drottningholm Court Theater, Drottningholm. Some 30 opera and ballet performances, from baroque to early romantic, are presented in the unique 1766 Drottningholm Court Theater in Drottningholm, with original decorative paintings and stage mechanisms. Call tel. 08/660-82-25 (www.dtm.se) for tickets or tel. 08/587-140-00 for information. Late May to late September.

June

Midsummer, nationwide. Swedes celebrate Midsummer Eve all over the country. Maypole dances to the sound of the fiddle and accordion are the typical festive events of the day. Dalarna observes the most traditional celebrations. Check www.sweden.se. Mid-June.

July

Around Gotland Race, Sandhamn. The biggest and most exciting open-water Scandinavian sailing race starts and finishes at Sandhamn, in the Stockholm archipelago. About 450 boats, mainly from Nordic countries, take part. Call tel. 08/571-530-68, in Stockholm, for information (www.gotlandrunt.se). Two days in mid-July.

Rättviksdansen (International Festival of Folk Dance and Music), Rättvik. Every other year, for some 20 years, around 1,000 folk dancers and musicians from all over the world have gathered to participate in this folkloric tradition. Check http://goscandinavia.about.com. Last week in July.

Stockholm Jazz Festival, Stockholm. This is a big summer event occurring on the grounds and inside the Modern Art Museum on the island of Skeppsholmen. An outdoor band shell is erected, and members of the audience sit on the lawn to hear top jazz artists from Europe and America. Tickets cost 350SEK to 450SEK ($48-$62/£24-£31) per person. For more information, search www.stockholmjazz.com. Last week in July for 7 days.

Gay Pride, Tantolunden at Liljeholmsbron, Stockholm. The largest gay pride festival in the Nordic countries features workshops, concerts, theater, and attractions for 1 week. There's even a local parade where Vikings go gay and/or in drag. For more information, call Stockholm Pride at tel. 08/33-59-55 (www.stockholmpride.org). July 31 to August 6 (dates can vary).

August

Medieval Week, Gotland. Numerous events are held throughout the island of Gotland -- including medieval tours, concerts, plays, festivities, and shows. For more information, contact the Office of Medieval Week, Hästgatan 4, S-621 56 Visby (tel. 0498/29-10-70; www.gotland.net). Early August.

Minnesota Day, Utvandra Hus, Växjoü (Småland). Swedish-American relations are celebrated at the House of Emigrants with speeches, music, singing, and dancing; the climax is the election of the Swedish-American of the year. Call tel. 0470/201-20 for information. Second Sunday in August.

December

Nobel Day, Stockholm. The king, members of the royal family, and invited guests attend the Nobel Prize ceremony for literature, physics, chemistry, medicine, physiology, and economics. Attendance is by invitation only. The ceremony is held at the concert hall and followed by a banquet at City Hall. Visit http://nobelprize.org for info. December 10.

Lucia, the Festival of Lights, nationwide. To celebrate the shortest day and longest night of the year, young girls, called "Lucias," appear in restaurants, offices, schools, and factories, wearing floor-length white gowns and special headdresses, each holding a lighted candle. They are accompanied by "star boys" -- young men in white, with wizard hats covered with gold stars, each holding a wand with a large golden star at the top. One of the "Lucias" is eventually crowned queen. In olden days, Lucia was known as "Little Christmas." This celebration is observed nationwide. Actual planned events change from year to year and vary from community to community. The best place for tourists to observe this event is at the open-air museum at Skansen in Stockholm. December 13.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.