Welcome back / Välkommna tilbaka !
Today is the day I believe nearly every country in the world has begins the celebrations for Midsummer. Although this is the period of the summer solstice, every country has its roots steeped in its own culture. Most European and Scandinavian celebrations date back to pre Christian times. Sweden included.
In Swedish folklore, this was the day /evening when all the Gods, Goddesses and Half Gods came together for a large meeting that turned into a fest/blot/party. Two of my goats are named after two of the Gods and Goddesses, Nanna and Balder. Of course all these proceedings were overlooked by the head God, Oden. There has been speculation, that during these pre-Christian time festivals, there was the first “may pole”. Because this time of year is also known for it’s fertility, the first “maypole” may have actually been a phallic symbol.
Today is actually Mid Summer Eve / Midsommarafton and it is one of the most important holidays in Sweden. Mid Summer day is not as important and the eve. Also, the actual date is the 22nd of June, but to be able too party and celebrate in a good way, the holiday was moved to this day, moving into the weekend.
People all over Sweden will celebrate today with visiting friends and relatives. There will be parties everywhere and people will eat the traditional herring with new boiled potatoes and of course there will be drink. Lots of drink. The most important of which is Swedish Snaps, of which there is a wide variety to choose from. And because this day/night is the brightest of the year, people generally stay up late into the wee hours of the morning. During the day, there is the traditional dancing and singing around the maypole or as it is known in Sweden, the malstång. The ladies and little girls traditionally put flower wreaths on their heads and it is really beautiful to see. One of the old traditions is for the young unmarried ladies to pick at least 7 different wild flowers and put them under their pillows at night. When they go to sleep, they are supposed to dream of their future husbands.
In every town, every small village and every city, you can see Mid Summer celebrated in many ways, including some of the old traditional ways. I was fortunate enough to be able to join in the celebrations in a very tiny, very old, fishing village up north. It is really charming and I feel fortunate to be able to enjoy this holiday in Sweden .
I wish you all a wonderful Mid Summer! Now I have to go to have my herrings and boiled new potatoes and of course snaps. So now I say to you all: