Swedish name: Midsommarafton Date: Usually around June 20
Midsummer is a genuine Swedish tradition, and to me Midsummer Eve feels like the true National Day of Sweden. We celebrate Midsummer Eve by dressing up a Midsummer pole with flowers and then dancing around it. Maybe you have heard of Små grodorna (Little frogs)? If not, it's one of the songs we sing around the pole and when we sing it we preform a dance where we imitate frogs. A traditional Midsummer headwear on this day is a Midsummer flower crown.
These are some old pics from a Midsummer Eve in the eighties sometime. Left pic: We are dancing around a Midsummer pole. Right pic: Me wearing a traditional Midsummer flower crown.
Some traditional food we eat on Midsummer Eve are pickled herring, boiled new potatoes and sour cream with fresh chives. To drink - snaps (shots) preferably P.O Andersson.
Dessert always consist of strawberry cake. In fact this is the day Swedish strawberries hit its high when it comes to prices because everyone must have some - no matter how expensive they are! No fresh Swedish strawberries - no true Midsummer!
Originally, before Christianity came to Scandinavia, the feast was associated with the sacrificial feasts in order to promote fertility. And according to old folk belief all things that grew in the wild were loaded with supernatural powers during Midsummer. A tradition that still remain and applies mainly to unwed girls is to pick seven or nine different flowers to put under your pillow on midsummer night. It is believed that the man you dream of during this night is the man you will spend your life with.
The Midsummer pole is a custom which has survived since the Middle Ages and probably came from Germany to Sweden. The dances and games around the pole was, and still is, a way for youth to get to know each other.