Set on a Friday between 19th and 25th June, Midsummer is one of the most celebrated traditions in Sweden. Children having finished school, it sets the start to most Swedes’ long Summer holidays.
Cities tend to be deserted and all escape to their country retreat, ideally by one of the many beautiful lakes around the country.
The day usually starts with flower picking to create wreaths for the young girls and to decorate the maypole, one of the key components of the festivities. It is raised in an open air space and danced around in circles, with both young and old joining in.
The menu is also not to be missed, with pickled herring accompanied by boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, sour cream and chives. This is often followed by a cold smoked fish of some sort and strawberries with cream for dessert.
The culinary delights would not be the same without the drinking and singing that come with it. Cold beer and schnapps (ideally spiced with elderflower) are served and a song is sung every time your glass is refilled which makes the evening rather merry!
Later in the evening, many Swedes, as per the old tradition, go out dancing, preferably on an open-air dance floor by a lake.
On their way home, the tradition has it that girls have to pick seven different species of flowers and lay them under their pillows. At night, they will dream of their future husband… In fact, Midsummer Eve is known as one of the most magical days for love!
Midsummer is above all an occasion for families and friends to get together and welcome Summer in a rather festive way!
To find out more, here‘s a little video making sure you get the basics right.