Today is Sweden’s second biggest holiday and many’s favourite holiday, including mine, as it’s all about being together with friends and family, eating, drinking and having fun! Midsommarafton (Midsummers Eve) is part of an old pagan holiday and goes back some thousand years, celebrating summer and light! It is always celebrated on the Friday closest to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. In majority of Sweden it doesn’t go dark during this time of the year.
Most people celebrate Midsommarafton in the country side, if you go to Stockholm this weekend it will probably be a bit quiet, there might even be some tumbleweed blowing down the streets. My childhood midsummers eve would start with strawberries in my breakfast cereal, eaten on the veranda listening to the birds singing. Then I’d go out and pick two large midsummers bouquet’s with wild flowers, one for mum and one for our neighbour. When we were little kids, we would make and raise a maypole too and do the silly little dances and maybe play some games. At an older age, there would be the sillunch, with new potatoes in dill, with pickled herrings in different flavours and ‘nubbe’ aka snaps. Followed later on by a BBQ in the early evening, finished off with strawberry cake – yum! And the evening is usually spent sitting outside on the veranda, eating and drinking, chatting and laughing the night away, rudely interrupted by the pesky mosquitos. And best of all is the bright summer night. I still marvel at the light blue sky that never goes dark, it’s the most wonderful, magical and empowering thing the northern Swedish summers night, it just fills me with warm gooey happiness inside and reminds me of why I love Sweden so much.
So today I will have to go to work with a heavy heart and a strong sense of homesickness and totally against my cultural heritage and tradition, I wonder if I can apply for it as a day off…. Although I will pop into Scandi Kitchen and try to get a jar of pickled herring and maybe even some snaps and teach Mat some snaps songs, it’s about time he learns some more Swedish culture, so I’ll start with the most important ones. Wishing you all a Glad Midsommar!
Here is a little fun video about midsummers and some of my own photos of it.