Illustration Friday: Cocoon; まゆ - mayu

"cocoon: a cosy warm covering"

Today, the last day of April, is bonfire night in Sweden (or at least on the east coast where I come from). It's unoficially a national holiday; if you're in Sweden, you're out on bonfire night! 
Unlike a normal, starry night where we can sense the vastness of the universe, this night the fire shuts out the dark and creates a ring, a bubble of light and warmth that gives a sensation of sharing a tiny common space in the world just there at that moment, with the heat flushing our faces.

Traditionally this has been an event for the universities and thus the "real" celebrations take place in Uppsala, the oldest, most typical of student cities but since I'm a Stockholm gal, I have to say that the view from the old town, of the fires against the backdrop of dark waters and the modern city beyond, is spectacular! :)
Like most countries with long, dark winters, we tend to romanticise the coming of spring and summer; this song here is the traditional song that must always, always, be sung on Valborg/Walpurgis Night. You cannot graduate (at least not from my school - we even did it in Latin!) without learning it, as it is also used by students in general around graduation time:
(translation by Gareth Mills)
Winter’s grip weakens in our mountains,

 bouquets melt away and die.
The purple waves of summer are nearly here;
the meadows bathe in daylight’s flames,
through the glades spring-waters dance.  
Below is a clip from Stockholm, 1957. 


  1. beautiful watercolour and story about the bon fires, have fun tonight!

  2. lovely cultural history lesson and painting. (No wonder it looked more than "cozy"... it's "on fire"!!)

  3. Wonderful painting Nancy! And I love the story! Thanks for sharing!

  4. thanks! It's a little more colourful thatn I usualy go for with watercolours but I think it was needed ;)
    SVTs arkiv är en liten guldgruva! :D