Mid-June, school is out and Sweden’s nature and ambience burst into life. The sun literally never sets! This calls for celebration, friends and family gather for the most typical of all Swedish traditions: Midsummer.
Sweden’s traditions are closely related to nature. At Midsummer, many begin their 5 weeks of holidays. Starting with the celebration of Midsummer Eve, which is always celebrated in the countryside. The day before June 21st, everyone leaves town, everything closes, and the city streets are suddenly spookily deserted. The blooming countryside however is packed. Friends and family gather for a joyful weekend away.
Midsummer Eve returns every year on the Friday between 19 and 25 June. People usually start the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component in the celebrations.
The maypole is raised in an open spot and everyone delights in the traditional ring-dances. The teenagers however usually don’t participate and go dancing in the trendy bars and clubs.
The Midsummer menu
Dinner consists of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, sourced cream and chives. This is often followed by a grilled dish of some kind, for example salmon or spare-ribs. For desserts, you should have the first strawberries of the season with cream.
For drinks, there is plenty of cold beer and schnapps, preferably spiced. Every time glasses are refilled, singing breaks out, the livelier the better. People like to go dancing in the evening, preferably in an outdoor location. Many wooden dance floors are constructed by the lakes, and the music echoes back on the opposite shore.
Legend says that the night before Midsummer’s day is a magical time for love. During this night, many a relationship is put to the test under the influence of alcohol! Single girls and women are supposed to pick seven different kind of flowers and lay them under their pillows. At night, their future husbands will appear to them in a dream. Besides, Midsummer just like Whitsun is still a popular time for weddings and christenings.