Midsummer is maybe the most important Swedish tradition. It takes place every year on the weekend following the summer solstice, when we have the longest day of the year!
The celebration started as a pagan ritual sometime in the Viking Age and it was seen as welcoming the summertime and the longest days of the year. Also, it was a rite for fertility.
Nowadays Midsummer is a public holiday, taking place always on a Saturday. The actual day and the Midsummer’s Eve you will hardly find any shops open in the big cities. Midsummer comes after the school just finished and before most of the Swedes prepare for their summer holiday. Therefore, most of the people go into the countryside or in the archipelago, leaving behind empty cities on Midsummer’s Eve.
This year the longest day of the year was June 21. The Midsummer’s Eve is taking place on June 24 and the Midsummer Day is on June 25.
The menu for this celebration includes, among others: pickled herring, fresh potatoes with dill, salmon, Janssons Frestelse, strawberries with cream, Västerbottenost pie and schnapps. All of it is accompanied by drinking songs!
Other important symbols for Midsummer are the decorating and raising of the maypole, making floral wreaths and dancing around the pole. Also, don’t forget to pick flowers and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, because you might dream your future husband/wife.
If you’re stuck in Stockholm and cannot celebrate with friends in the countryside, do not worry! Skansen is one of the most popular places during these days. And for only 200 SEK you can take part in the full celebrations. Find the detailed programme in Swedish here.
Text and Photo: Ionut @ stoRy touRs