Midsummer is one of the biggest holidays in Sweden. It’s all about eating and dancing around the maypole. Usually in the rain.
One year, I’m going to photograph it all… But this year, we spent so long at the pool before lunch that we just didn’t have the energy to go down to the local celebrations.
We did celebrate the light, the warmth and the sun in our own way.
Life may not always be a dance on roses, but that doesn’t stop you from dancing in a shower of rose petals.
It’s all about your attitude.
You can complain that roses have thorns.
Or you can rejoice that thorns have roses.
For more midsummer (or midwinter) beauty, please visit: Our World.
It’s Midsummer — or the summer solstice –
When we celebrate the longest day and shortest night.
The sun still shines strongly at 10.30 at night,
Painting the sky with wisps of light
And sending coloured clouds of happiness and peace our way.
For more summer (or winter) skies, please visit: Skywatch.
Midsummer has been and gone, but for us, summer is only just starting.
Long days of spontaneous joys and laziness lie ahead.
And, best of all, the dazzling delights of late evening sunsets
Lie ready to unfurl their colours
And make us gasp in wonder.
For more spectacular skies, please visit: Skywatch.
Celebrating the miracle of light – after so many months of winter darkness – culminates in the biggest festival of all: midsummer.
This is a time of dancing around the maypole dressed in traditional costumes, accompanied by live fiddle music and song.
Although the tradition of dressing a pole in flowers and leaves came from Germany about 700 years ago, the idea of celebrating summer goes back much further than that. Summer is so short and sweet that it has to be enjoyed to the fullest!
As always, these traditions are about family, friends and food. Pickled herring (if you like that sort of thing), fresh new potatoes and, of course, strawberries: glowing red jewels that taste of sunshine.
Midsummer falls on the Friday just after the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. The white nights, or long summer evenings, are gloriously light – making sleeping difficult – and the sun is still blazing long into the night and then again in the very early morning.
10.30 at night… a pastel pink midsummer sky graces the silhouette of the old church across the lake.
I’ll sleep again come winter.. but right now, I have to enjoy the light!
For more slices of global life, please visit: My World.
If you ask a Swede what their favourite holiday is, they would probably find it hard to choose between Christmas Eve and Midsummer’s Eve. Midsummer is a magical time in Sweden – at least, that’s how most people imagine it to be. The sun is shining, they escape to their summer cottages and have a wonderful time dancing around a maypole with their families.
OK… so it very often rains, too much alcohol and herring are consumed, and old family wars might break out… Yet it is still a magical holiday.
The tradition of Midsummer celebrations goes back to pre-Christian times as a way of welcoming in the summer and celebrating fertility. Just look at the maypole and you’ll see what I mean.
Photo: www.imagebank.se Fredrik Sweger, Lou B/Fredrik Sweger and the Swedish Institute
The maypoles are dressed with leaves and flowers and raised, ready for people to dance around, accompanied by live folk musicians. One of my favourites is the song ‘Little Frogs’ – where you dance around the pole pretending to be a frog (jumping on your haunches while making silly hand gestures).
After this, you eat herring (if you like it – I don’t), new potatoes and, of course, lots of strawberries and cream. The Swedes tend to consume lots of alcohol, so that schnapps drinking songs can be heard long into the night.
Midsummer’s Eve falls around the longest night of the year, so that it hardly every gets dark. The sun may dip down onto the horizon like a golden or bright orange eye, only to rise again fairly soon after.
What better way to celebrate balmy days and long light nights than with flowers, song and food?
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