The most important holiday in Sweden after Christmas and New Years is Midsommar. It falls as close to summer solstice as possible, between June 20-26. Midsommar eve is always celebrated on a Friday.
The traditional foods for Midsommar festivities are: herring, sour cream, chives, new potatoes with fresh dill, consumed with snaps and beer. Also very much a tradition for any Midsommar celebration is the “snapsvisor” drinking songs, where everyone takes a break from eating to sing in unison, then drink some snaps. Fresh strawberry cake is the traditional desert, made of the first Swedish strawberries of the season.
The longest day of the year is most notably celebrated in Sweden by raising a t-shaped Midsommar pole, decorated with green vines, leaves and flowers. Once raised, it is danced around by girls and women who wear crowns of fresh flowers in their hair.
It is believed by Swedes that Midsommar eve is the most magical night of the whole year. On that night, Midsommarkvastar brooms made out of flowers are prepared to prolong the Midsommar night scent all year, bringing health to all in the household. Walking barefoot through the dew on Midsommar morning is further thought to bring a healthy and strong year ahead. And many also believe that if a young person picks seven kinds of flowers in total silence on Midsommar night, then places them under their pillow, they will dream of the person they are going to marry. I remember one Midsommar as a teenager dreaming about my ancient history teacher, and luckily that dream didn’t come true…..
“små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se……”