01 Jun How to Celebrate Swedish Midsummer
Now humans have naturally celebrated the transitions of the seasons for a very long time and the traditions I want to talk about is Swedish Midsummer.
Maybe it is because Scandinavian winters are so very long, maybe it is because the summers are so very beautiful, I’ve never been so I can only imagine; but Sweden has a beautiful way of celebrating midsummer and it’s a tradition that we could do well to pick up on.
How to Celebrate Midsummer
I love holidays, most especially seasonal ones and midsummer is one of my favorite times of the year. The long days, the warm nights, the walks in the twilight. Summer should be slow and golden and. the world is warm and bright. I want to talk a it about Swedish midsummer and the traditions that come with it but in the end this is a reinvention, an interpretation if you will. I don’t believe there are any rules to holidays and it’s lovely to take what you like and add it to your life. Not to mention most of the traditions are the most obvious things to do.
Swedish midsummer takes place on June 24th, four days after the summer solstice, and it marks the midpoint of the year. It’s origins are debatable, beginning as a Christian holiday for a more or less forgotten saint, or fininding it’s roots in pagan celebrations of the summer solstice and as festival of fertility. The celebration is also not strictly limited to Sweden, as a lot of the traditions take place throughout Scandinavia and the traditional midsommarstång (a summer maypole) originated in Germany and Nordic Mythology.
Traditionally midsummer is celebrated with a picinic, and a long leasurly lunch, and all the best Seedish foods. Including the more exotic sill (pickled herring) and skagenröra prawns with crème fraiche) and the maybe more attainable sour cream, potatoes and västerbottenpaj (cheese quiche). The celebration then continues into the night with lots of drinking dancing and all out outdoor appreciation of summer.
Midsummer Celebration Sweden
I love to travel and would love to one day spend a midsummer in Sweden. This year circumstances are different but I’ll include a few travel tips for future reference.
And if you want a more thrilling take Midsommar is the perfect film, following a couple who go to Seeden for midsummer and take a darker turn when they end up in more of a pagan cult.
Swedsh Midsummer Games
With the traditional snaps come the traditional snaps songs.
Games include the typical drinking tunes, the most common being Helan Går, När Gäddorna fåra nd Tänk om jag hade lilla nubben. Sweden is a country with a colorful array of drinking songs, and it’s generally a good idea to print out the lyrics ahead of time, (escially if you lack the lanaguage and want to try out a song regardless).
And of course the maypole, and the frog dance Små grodorna, where everyone sings the frog song, and hop around like frogs, (well into the night’s alcohol supply I assume). Here’s a few exerts from the lyrics for humors sake.
Små grodorna, små grodorna, är lustiga att se.
Little frogs, little frogs are funny to see.
Ej mössor, ej mössor, ej byxor hava de.
No hats, no hats, no pants have they.
Food and Drinks
Traditional Midsummmer begins with beers and progresses flavored snaps, generally with akvavit or vodka. Try making your own Midsumer drinks, mixing in elderflower cordial, lemon or summer herbs.
Strawberries and Midsommartårta strawberry cake, a dreamy swirl of strawberries, lemon curd and cream cheese frosting. Kladdkaka chocolate mess cake served with whipped cream and raspberries.
And of course Prinsesstårta (Swedish Princess cake) most recognizable for its green marzipan frosting and topped with a pink rose. Here’s a traditional recipe, although this year I may try out a vegan interpretation.
Swedish Midsummer Flower Wreaths
Flowers are very important to midsummer, and flower wreaths are an essensial part of the celebration. They’re also sed to decorate the maypole or as general adornments and garlands.
Another magical midsummer tradition is to collect seven different summer flowers, from seven different places, and it’s said that if you place them under your pillow you’ll dream of your true love. A bit overly romantic but I love flowers and I love dreams so what can I say.
Is Midsommar Real
Like most things the magic of midsummer is relatively real. It is the magic of the ordinary, the passage of the seasons the natural shift of time.
Hand in hand with the traditions of Swedish midsummer are the older traditions of Litha and the summer solstice.
A little before the summer solstice is Litha, a pagan holiday that marks this transitional period of the year. Also refereed to as midsummer night it is a time of magic, when as far as the story goes fairies would pass into the human world. Celebrate with gratitude and fresh intentions. Floral wreaths, bonfires and an introspective beginning to your midsummer.
A few Litha traditions include honey cakes, lavender lemondade, floral and herb infused oils and fresh intentions.
I wrote a blog post on Litha as well that goes into more detail.
What Mythical Creatures Were Believed to Active on Midsummers Eve
More related to the pagan day of Litha Midsummers Eve is a mystical time when the fairies are said to be most likely to enter the human world.
We learn a lot when we live in harmony with the seasons and the summer solstice is one of the most important points of the year. The longest day and the shortest night, the summer solstice marks a midpoint of the year and most naturally a time to celebrate.
Although this years midsummer is not quite so traditional I hope you take the opportunity to create your own celebration. To note the passage of time and mark it with a celebration. I intend to take everything I found inspiring and blend it into something new.
Best Places For Swedish Midsummer
Travel may not be much of an option this year but I wanted to include some of the best places to experience midsummer in Sweden so you can keep track of them for future reference.
How to Celebrate Midsummer
Save it to Pinterest for future reference and let me know how your individual midsummer celebration comes about.