Sweden has a summer festival that we call midsummer and I think it is our most loved and important holidays in Sweden. It is either that or Christmas but I think, at least for adults, midsummer wins. Midsummer is on or close to the summer solstice which is in the end of June. This year it will be on June 24th.
So what is this highly regarded holiday? Well, basically it is a celebration that summer has come. It is a very old holiday that goes back(started) long before Christians came to Sweden and therefore it has a lot of interesting traditions connected to it.
For example, many women wear flowers in their hair on that day. That is because it was believed that if an unmarried woman could pick 7 different kinds of flowers from 7 different fields and wear them on her head, she might meet her husband that day. Alternatively if she couldn’t meet him she could put the flowers under her pillow and she would dream about her future husband.
Other things we do during this holiday is to dance around a big pole that has been covered in leaves and flowers. Nowadays this is mostly a fun activity for children but adults join in too at times. We play many kinds of lawn games(outdoor games) during this day, like darts, ball games and a game called kubb. Kubb is sometimes called “viking chess” and is a sort of strategical outdoor bowling.
This day is also famous for excessive(too much) eating and drinking.
Like most Swedish parties we like to make a smorgasbord, this is like a buffet or “viking” as people call it in Japan. On this we like to have fresh unpeeled potatoes boiled together with an herb(plant) called dill. We eat them together with sour cream and chives. Some of the other things on the table are sandwiches, herring, smoked salmon, sausages, assorted cheese, different kinds of salad,fruit, and of course meatballs.
To this we like to drink beer and snaps(strong, flavoured or spiced alcohol) and sing some silly songs. As a dessert we like to eat strawberries with cream.
Since it is in the middle of the summer the day is very long and if the weather is nice it doesn’t get really dark until after midnight. So at night we usually have a barbeque and the celebrations doesn’t stop until way past midnight for some.
It is a fun and happy day and people are usually cheerful and drunk so I always recommend people to try and experience this holiday if they have the chance.