Swedish midsummer is all about dancing around the maypole to live music.
This year, we arrived at the local farm a little too late —
We could hear music in the distance;
But when we arrived at the maypole —
Slender against the cloudy sky —
The musicians were already putting away
Their instruments for the day.
We stopped to admire each ring of the maypole
Bedecked in flowers (woven there by hand).
The day did not go as planned,
But it’s how you roll with life that counts.
For more midsummer stories, please visit: Our World.
Midsummer is that most Swedish of Swedish traditions:
A wonderful time spent in red cottages with outdoor loos;
Where you can take shots of yourself
Next to iconic old red buildings;
And where you dance around the midsummer pole
Wearing flowers and a silly smile.
This year was a bit of a wash-out for us —
But the rain did create a canvas of abstract beauty.
For more summery shots, please visit: Our World.
Friday was the summer solstice – the longest day of the year —
And also Midsummer’s Eve: a major holiday here in Sweden.
It’s a time for weaving flowers around the maypole
And then lifting it up into place as a team effort.
Midsummer is an ancient pagan tradition —
And, as you can see, it’s a celebration of fertility
And light and the burst of growth that occurs during the short Swedish summer.
It’s a time for having fun and dancing around the maypole
Like a little frog in time-honoured tradition —
(Yes, this is me being silly…)
Although for some, a short nap in the green summer grass
Is more than welcome.
For more traditions, please visit: Our 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?
For more stories, visit That’s My World!