A day outdoors, interesting foods, and floral crowns? No, this isn’t a weekend at Coachella, but rather the Swedish midsummer celebration. Check out how Sweden takes the term “opt outside” to a whole new level and welcomes in the summer season like a boss.
What exactly is Swedish Midsummer?
Forget winter. Summer is coming! Traditionally, the Swedish Midsummer or midsommar is a celebration of the summer solstice, held on June 24th. Nowadays, midsommar can be celebrated between June 20-26th, as the Swedish Parliament declared that midsummer should always be celebrated on a weekend (talk about ultimate #weekendvibes).
With long, dark winters, the Swedish midsummer celebration is a time to get outdoors, celebrate the longest day of the year, and get friendly with all things Mother Nature. It is considered one of the most important days of the year and matches the Christmas season with its festivities and traditions. The Swedish celebrate with floral crowns in their hair, and the celebrations must be held outdoors, whether its a public park or summer cottage.
How is it celebrated?
Aside from the usual outdoor activities that accompany summer (think kayaking, swimming, picnics in the park), one of the most notable Swedish midsummer activities is the raising of the maypole. The maypole (or midsummer pole – an ancient fertility symbol) is decorated in greenery and flowers and the Swedish dance around the maypole, place flower crowns in their hair, and play all sorts of hearty, clean outdoor fun esque games – think tugs of war, horse shoe tossing, egg and spoon races, brute throwing (who knows) and apple bobbing. And don’t be thinking these are games for the young – grannies and toddlers alike all get involved.
What foods are traditionally eaten?
There’s no denying that the Swedish love their strawberries, so you’ll find summertime the peak season for strawb-errythang, including the delicious strawberry cake or Jordgubbar. Other delectable dishes that are usually enjoyed during the midsummer celebration include pickled herring and new potatoes served with chives and sour cream, paired with every flavour of schnapps you can think of (bringing the normally reserved Swedes fully out of their shells).
If you’re still feeling ill-equipped to ring in the summer season, Visit Sweden has this incredible video showcasing all things Swedish Midsummer…
How can I get me some midsummer action?
The general rule of thumb for life – do as the Swedes do. So how can you insert some sweet midsummer fun into your life? 2 options:
1 – host your own midsummer party, wherever in the world you may be. Rustle up some flower crowns, a maypole and a strawberry cake and knock back that schnapps.
2 – Get yourself to Sweden, stat.