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Valborgsmässoafton, western Nebraska style

April 30, 2012

Western Nebraska is more of a cultural crossroads than most people might think.

The Lakota have been here the longest, and their culture continues with the Circle the Bluffs Powwow. Mexican people have been a part of the fabric of this community for generations. The Cinco de Mayo parade is coming up soon – the kickoff to the parade season! I have many months yet to wait to get my fix of bento from the descendents of the Japanese issei who settled here in the 19-teens. I have almost as long to wait for my annual serving of authentically yummy Greek food. And let’s not forget the legacy of the German-Russian settlers – the cabbage burger.

Long story short, there is a well-established tradition here of the mores and folkways of diverse cultures appearing on the scene.

I thought I would add one more culture to the mix – Swedish.

There are plenty of descendents of Swedish immigrants living in the Great Plains, but, somehow, I never heard of the tradition of Valborgsmässoafton (AKA “Walpurgis Night”) until Bugman and I were in Sweden a year ago.

We adapted the tradition to suit ourselves.

First, I made a smörgåstårta.

Ingredients: the bottoms of two Gering Bakery bread bowls, a mashed avocado, sliced cucumber, halved grape tomatoes, halved black olives, sliced hard-boiled egg, baby swiss cheese slices, red bell pepper slices, canned mini shrimp, a pouch of salmon, fresh dill, lemon slices, and about a half a jar of mayonnaise. Layer and stack and pile the ingredients as you like, and use the mayonnaise to stick it all together.

Then, Bugman and I went to visit our friends Country Chicken Girl and Dan the Man on their ranch and made a lovely Valborgsmässoafton bonfire with storm-felled branches and tumbleweeds.

It's awfully fun to burn tumbleweeds. 1. Because I hate them. 2. Because they are very flammable and go *POOF* into a ball of flame.

We drank a beer and said “cheers” to the sunset and a formal “good riddance” to winter’s detritus.

Then we followed the smörgåstårta with s’mores!

Happy Walpurgis night from western Nebraska!

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 1, 2012 7:25 am

    I love your openess to new experiences and then sharing them with everyone!
    Thanks!

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