Experiencing Lund: "April Last and May First"
30 April-1 May
No charge Visitors best experience the university city of Lund by spending April 30 and May 1 here. This visitors' guide describes what happens during these days. We recommend visitors to arrive in Lund April 29 and leave May 2 in order to partake of the full program. Also, if you want to dine at a restaurant in Lund during these days, be sure to book a table in plenty of time.
Traditionally, April 30 is called April Last in Lund. Originally, May 1 was the main day of festivities, but over time its previous day, e.g. April 30, emerged as a pre-celebration day with many traditions and activities that have varied over the years. Nowadays, "the great spontaneous feast" in Lund's City Park dominates the April Last celebration.
April Last in Lund's City Park - Sweden's largest spontaneous party
Party / Pick-nick
ca. 7 am - 3 pm
Lund's City Park
ca. 800 m. from
Lund railway station
not allowed! Lund's April Last festivities begin in the early morning with an improvised pick-nick in Lund's City Park. The event has no official backing but developed over the years into Sweden's largest pick-nick with over 30,000 participants. The feast resembles an enormous pick-nick, aimed mainly for university students and other youth. Participants bring their own seating preferences, food, and drink.
The police will confiscate and dispose alcohol possessed by youth under age 20. Paper-cups of water are also distributed to those feeling thirsty. There are plenty of temporary toilets, circa 200 porta-potties served attendants in 2022. These precautions and health services from the city have made the event a more peaceful party. For entertainment, the Academic Society’s radio station, Radio AF, at 99,1 MHz, broadcasts music between 11 am and 3 pm.
All are welcome to participate, but many visitors come just for a while to observe and enjoy the festive atmosphere. It’s spectacular to see so many people pick-nicking together. We recommend arriving on public transportation in plenty of time, because Lund’s city-center is crowded this day, and some streets near the city park are often closed to traffic. About 3 pm, the party dissolves and clean-up begins to prepare the park for the evening’s traditional Walpurgis-night celebration.
Donning of the Caps at the Tegnér Plaza
Donning of the Caps
ca. 5.15 pm - 6.15 pm
Tegnér Plaza The Donning of the Caps ceremony usually begins with music by Bleckhornen*, one of Lund’s two student orchestras, and song by Bella Voce, the university’s women choir. Starting at 5.55 pm, the Vice Chair of the University’s Student Body gives the "Speech to Spring," after which the students don their white student caps. A performance by Bella Voce ends the event.
*Pun: "Bleckhornen" means both "Tinplate horns" and "Inkpots"
The female student singers Bella Voce. The Donning of the Caps ceremony originated at the time students wore caps year-round and changed from winter- to summer caps at midnight April 30/May 1. The winter cap was identical to the summer cap, but for the color and material, using blue wool rather than white velvet, and was worn between October 4th—the Greeting Banquet, held inside the Academic Society’s House (AF)-and April Last. Nowadays, the winter cap is hardly ever used, and the summer cap is only used at The Donning and at special celebrations, for ex. doctoral promotions and such.
Since 1965, due to the growth of the student body, "Donning of the Cap" takes place about ca. 6 pm instead of at midnight and outside at Tegnér Plaza instead of inside AF as previously. During the time the ceremony was held at midnight, an unwritten rule required that the "Speech to Spring" include the phrase, "där ute står majnatten blånande blå" ("out there the May-night shines bluishly blue"). While the ceremony is held in daylight nowadays, the phrase or variations thereof is still mentioned in the speech.
Traditional Walpurgisnight Celebration
ca. 8 pm - 9 pm
Lund’s City Park Traditionally, the April Last Celebrations concludes during the evening in Lund’s City Park with entertainment, sing-a-longs, and a second "Speech to Spring" held by an invited speaker. About 20:40 (ca.8:40 pm), a parade of torches enters to light the Walpurgis fire.
Honoring the University Chancellor
12.20 am - 1 pm
University Plaza On May 1st, the students honor the Chancellor on University Plaza. At 12:20, a student procession of flags and standards march from AF to the University Building. There, the students loudly knock on its door to alert the Chancellor. Then, the Chair of the Student Body and the Chancellor exchange speeches with one another. The event ends with shouts of "vivat" or "pereant" to give a thumbs up, or down, as an evaluation of the Chancellor and University.
The event has been a yearly tradition from 1849. Previously, the students walked door-to-door in Lund, visiting their professors to praise or critique them.
Tegnér Plaza Immediately following "Honoring of the Chancellor", take a short walk to Tegnér Plaza to listen to Bleckhornen’s spring concert. The student orchestras’ performances are frequently as much show as music—very entertaining to hear and watch.
The Student-Singers of Lund
Singers of Lund
18:00 - 18:45
University Plaza Lund’s Student-Singers greet springtime, standing on the steps of the University at University Plaza, May 1st, 18:00 (6 o’clock). Swedish Television broadcasts the event live, and it attracts large crowds, so arrive early to find place near enough to see the singers.
Lund’s Student-Singers is a men’s choir that was formed November, 20th, 1831, in the halls of the then recently formed Academic Society (AF). Nowadays, the choir includes about 50 active members, but previous choir members considerably add to that number for the Spring Concert.