Happy midsummer everyone!
Say what? Well, in Sweden we celebrate a holiday called Midsummer - and its probably the most celebrated holiday here - larger than Christmas in popularity almost. It roughly co-exist with the summer solstice - but is not exactly a celebration of just the solstice. The roots of this celebration is pagan and connected to farming and fertility. Pre-christian traditions here in the north of Europe. However, the traditions we celebrate today have very little to do with farming. Today we just simply celebrate for the sake of celebration and tradition.
Its fun. Its quite non-religious and most people in Sweden join in the celebration in one way or the other.
What do we do? Well many people try going to the countryside and joind family and friends for a feast. We eat a lot of traditional Swedish food (things like pickled herring for example) and we also decorate a Maypole. (Pictures above - A symbole of fertility, I guess its some kind of phallic symbol, but today most Maypoles look more like a christian cross for some strange reason). Some people wear traditional clothes even and dance traditional dances, often around the maypole. Some people still also light a big bondfire since the Maypole is more of a northern Swedish tradition and the fire is more of a southern. Or at least it used to be like that. Nowdays the tradition of bondfires (St Hans fire) is almost dead even here in the south.
Then people dance and get drunk all evening and night basically. Its probably easily the most drunken day of the year in Sweden. If you ever want to see something very uniquely and truly Swedish - this is it.
Basically its a crazy pagan celebration of food and love (well a lot of drunk people fighting also).
June 19, 2008 + Posted in Sweden +