A very Swedish thing is to celebrate midsummer around the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. In Sweden midsummer’s eve is celebrated on the Friday in the week of June 24, whereas in other Scandinavian and Northern European countries, midsummer is celebrated on the 24th, no matter what day it is.
In the far south where my family live the sun do set for a couple of hours during the night, but further north it stays above the horizon all night.
The celebration itself is a joyful event, with good food, good drinks and great company. Sometimes even good weather! Every year, the newspapers are filled with predictions to what the weather will be like (mostly rain) and that is what everyone seems to be talking about for days. Worrying whether you can sit outside and eat your herring, drink your snaps and indulge in strawberry layer cake or you will have to cram all your guest in to the living room while the rain batter the windows.
Of course, we can not forget to bring up the dance around the midsommarstång or maypole. Also a time when we worry about the rain. Should we bring the fika outside despite the newspapers warning for torrential rain for the weekend? But you cant possibly enjoy the dance around the maypole unless you have plenty of fika. And the dance, with the jumping frogs. Yes, we do pretend that we are frogs without ears and tails hopping around the maypole. This lovely video is from London’s very much unofficial celebration that takes place in Hyde Park every year, on midsummer day (Saturday) so more people can join.
To an outsider, this probably sounds like some strange traditions, but I do have fond memories of midsummers past and would have loved to blow of work tomorrow to join my fellow ex-pats.