Midsummer Day in Sweden

Midsummer ("Midsommardagen") is one of the most famous Swedish holidays. It has been a state holiday since 1953. It is held on Saturday between the 20th and 26th June. Still it is the Midsummer Eve ("Midsommarafton") when the most traditions are observed.

On the Midsummer Eve people make Midsummer pole ("Midsommarstång"). It is made of various branches. It is made in the form of a cross with several wreaths hanging on the cross.

Midsummer pole (
Midsummer pole ("Midsommarstång")

People gather around the Midsummer pole. There they dance and sing. Many perform "Små grodorna". People jump around the pole and sing a funny song about frogs.

During the holiday some women and children wear flower wreath on their head.

There are some other traditions related to the Midsummer. There are beliefs according to which in this time of year amazing things can happen. Herbs collected have special power.

People make bouquets ("midsommarkvastar") and then dry them. In some parts of Sweden the locals drink water from various wells hoping that it will bring them good health. There are single people who visit wells hoping that they will see the reflection of their future partners on the water surface. Walking barefoot during Midsummer also helps in avoiding illnesses.

Single women first have to jump seven fences. Then they have to pick seven or nine different flowers. They put them under a pillow. When sleeping on such a pillow a woman will dream of her future husband. Some other important things in our life like death or harvest can also be predicted during Midsummer.

There are people who believe that Midsummer also offers possibility to get rich as mysterious treasures became visible. But those who are lucky to find them must not tell others about it. As soon as they do it the treasure will immediately disappear.

Many Swedes celebrate Midsummer in a cottage next to some of many lakes existing in the country. There is a big public celebration in the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm.

No feast can be imagined without various food and drink. Midsummer is the time when Swedes eat herrings, potatoes with cream and dill, chives etc. Fresh strawberries or a cake with them are favourite deserts. Lot of alcoholic beverages like snaps and beer are consumed.