Today, it's Midsommarafton (=Eve of Midsummer) in Sweden. Wish I was there...
I've sure had my fair share of strange, weird and odd - but at the same time beautiful and fun Midsummer celebrations, in different parts of the world. But nothing beats a real Swedish Midsommar in Sweden.
Midsummer is one of the only pagan holidays that are still celebrated in Europe (if not the only?). Midsummer certainly rivals Christmas as the most important holiday of the year for the Swedes, and it's one of the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated, even if it has been influenced by other countries long ago.
The main celebrations take place all over Sweden today, and the traditional events include raising, and dancing to traditional music around a huge midsommarstång (=maypole). Before the maypole is raised, everybody helps using greens and flowers to decorate the entire pole.
Raising and dancing around a maypole is an activity that attracts families and many others. Every town will put on a celebration, and everybody will get together and enjoy the dancing and singing together.
Food is also very important, and traditionally the year's first potatoes, pickled herring, sour cream, and possibly the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Not really something that we have out here, and even if we did, it wouldn't taste the same.
I have been lucky though, the last two years me and the kids have actually celebrated Midsommar in Sweden! In lack of Midsommar pictures from today, I will show you some from the previous years. Here we are in Skara 2006:
And this is from Helsingborg last year, unfortunately in the rain. But that didn't stop us from dancing!