On Friday this week it's midsummer - or the summer solstice - the longest day of daylight of the year in the northern hemisphere. In Scandinavia, where winters are long and summers are short - it is one of the most important holidays of the year. In Sweden, it is celebrated in a very Swedish way - from what people wear to what they eat and drink during the day. The traditional way of celebrating midsummer is to start the day by collecting flowers and leaves and tie these aound a pole - which is called a maypole, an ancient fertility symbole. Usually large parties, including families, gather to raise the pole (this is typically done by the boys and men), whilst the girls and women decorate the pole and put flowers and sprigs in their hair. When this is all done, you usually have lunch - which is normally a traditional feast of herring, salmon, and large quantities of boiled fresh potatoes. The grown-ups usually drink beer and snaps, whilst singing traditional Swedish drinking songs. Dessert is more or less always strawberries. After lunch it's time to dance around the pole, when traditional music is often played and some even wear traditional folk costumes. The party usually lasts until the crack of dawn, it is just one of those days when it is hard to go to sleep, as it is so light outside.
At Scandinavian Minimall we had our own little midsummer lunch last week before we all part ways for the summer holidays. We had a traditional lunch, dressed the kids in clothing fit for a midsummer party and put flowers in their hair though there was no pole to dance around (and no snaps or beer either, for that matter...!!). Hope the pictures below will give you an idea of what midsummer in Sweden is all about. By this short introduction to how we celebrate midsummer in Sweden, we wish you all a very HAPPY MIDSUMMER!