Although the world is only slowly opening up, it will of course continue to run. Fortunately, after the second Corona spring, the summer will follow 'just'. And that's great, because for many people (and if things go well), summer means nice weather, more free time and long balmy evenings where the sun does not disappear behind the horizon until late. Add a cocktail or a fresh rosé, a bbq and a bowl full of summer fruit and you'll get through the days.
The start of summer, this year on Monday 21 June, has been something people look forward to for centuries and something that is celebrated exuberantly. For example, it will not be a coincidence that the rising sun falls exactly on one of the main stones of Stonehenge on the first day of summer.
At least as important as Christmas
Many people are therefore happy that summer is starting again, but in Sweden they really make it a party. Midsummer, Midsommar in Swedish, is at least as important there as Christmas. And that's saying something. It is celebrated every year on the Friday around June 24, so somewhere between June 19 and 25. Now I hear you think; Summer starts on June 21, right? Correct! However, the Christian church did not like such a pagan festival and so it was Christianized to the feast day in honor of the birth of John the Baptist on June 24, three days after the summer solstice.
Maypole and flowers under your pillow
The Swedes flock to their red country houses to be together. Midsommar is a party that you celebrate with family and close friends, full of traditions that have been around for centuries. One of those typical Swedish customs is to set up a Maypole. A tall pole, often with hoops attached, which is decorated with birch branches, flowers and ribbons. In every village such a tree rises in a central place and on Midsommar day young and old people dance around it.
In addition , people believed that plants have magical powers at midsummer. When you sleep under your pillow as a young girl with plucked flowers, you dream about the man you will marry. Romantic not?
Maybe you can't easily go on holiday to Sweden then, luckily you can also celebrate Midsommar at home! What do you need?
- Preferably a garden , but a balcony or spot on the campsite is also very good. As long as it's outside (and you can keep enough distance, if you're going to celebrate with more people than just your household)
- Fresh field flowers on the table, preferably in the Swedish colors yellow and blue
- A dinner consisting of new potatoes with dill, pickled herring (Ikea!) and strawberries with whipped cream
- Beer and schnapps
And it's not that complicated. Make it cozy with the above ingredients and don't go to bed before the sun has really set!
Only for brave dodos
If you still need some extra entertainment, because it really does take a while before it is completely dark, watch the Swedish/American horror film Midsommar on Netflix. Midsummer will never be the same…
If you want to get even more into a Scandinavian atmosphere, take a look at my webshop Studio Kvinna . There you will find a lot of cards, prints and home accessories to get you in the mood.
Femke - married, mom of Annika (2019), Hengelo - has a great love for Sweden and this is reflected in her fresh and cheerful illustration style, see also studiokvinna.nl . Femke knows a lot about the far north and is happy to share it with us. Which is very contagious!