Wild flowers in your hair, pickled herring and people jumping like frogs around a huge maypole means it must be Midsummer.
Midsummer – My favourite Swedish Celebration
Midsummer is my favourite Swedish celebration because the day just doesn’t seem to end. The day goes on and on and on and when it finally does end, it never really gets dark and there is a magical twilight. There are even places in the north of the country the sun doesn’t even set. Where we live in Stockholm today the sun came up at 3.32 and is due to set at 22.06 – giving us 18 hours and 34 minutes of daylight.
The maypole is said to be a symbol of fertility and I suppose with its erect shaft and two round circles at the top does look rather phallic!
Today’s Midsummer frolics
Today we celebrated Midsummer at Bruket Görvälns naturreservat in Järfälla. First we went for a swim in Lake Mälaren.
The Small Frog Midsummer song
The most famous of the traditional Swedish songs is Small Frogs Små Grodorna, where people hop jump and waggle ears and tails.
The lyrics are rather bizarre and I love it:
Who lives in Mora Träsk Som bor i Mora Träsk
It’s a little frog Det är en liten groda
Which is possible and grotesque Som är mullig och grotesk
Because he has no ears För han har inga öron
And he was born without a tail Och han föddes utan svans
In the summer night you hear him I sommarnatten hör man honom
Small frogs, small frogs Små grodorna, små grodorna
Are funny to see Är lustiga att se
Not ears, not ears Ej öron, ej öron
They do not have tails Ej svansar hava de
A Midsummer Swedish smörgåsbord
Afterwards we came home to a Swedish smörgåsbord of smoked salmon, dill potatoes, pickled herring (senap sill and dill sill), knäckebröd, sour cream with horseradish, barbecued chicken legs, salad. For dessert I made a strawberry and raspberry pavlova and even brought squirty cream, which caused a great deal of excitement. As I am teetotaler I had to swap the traditional snaps for elderflower cordial, not as much fun, but a lot less messy.
Like Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ magic is in the air for Sweden’s Midsommarefton. According to legend, if a girl picks seven kinds of flowers and puts them under her pillow on Midsummer Eve, it is said that she will dream about the person she will marry.
After 15 years with my soul mate Mark, I don’t need to put any flowers under my pillow. But you could always give it a go, you never know what you might dream of, hopefully it won’t be Bottom.
As an extra special we set a tent up in the garden so if they want to tonight, for Midsummer, our kids can sleep outside.
Glad Midsommar och Godnatt