19 June 2015

Swedish Midsummer Celebrations

Today is Midsummer's Eve in Sweden, and the Swedish members of the team celebrate the shortest night of the year.

Sweden has long and dark winters, and maybe that is the reason why the Swedes have honored the lightest day of the year since long before Sweden was a country. Midsummer's Eve is the day of the main celebrations, and some dress in folk costumes to highlight the long tradition of this festival.

Most Swedes try to celebrate Midsummer in the countryside, so on the island where Sigge and I live and has its headquarters, we often have guests for this holiday.

In the morning of Midsummer's Eve, people go out to pick flowers and dress the maypole. "Allemansrätten", the law that gives us the freedom to roam in the countryside, also gives us the right to pick all wild flowers but  orchids and other protected species.

After a lunch on pickled herring, chives, sour cream and the first potatoes of the season, it is time to raise the maypole on a meadow or lawn. Then all join hands and create huge rings, and we sing traditional songs while wandering around the pole. Often special movements have to be performed with each song, and this is a great joy for the children.

In the evening follows a long dinner with friends and family and more dancing and singing in homes that are decorated with greenery to create the right Midsummer spirit. As you can see in the slideshow below, Sweden is at its best this time of the year.

In ancient times people believed that magic was strong during Midsummer's Eve, so it was a good night for rituals to look into the future. Unmarried young girls picked a bouquet of seven different flowers and put it under the pillow to dream about their future husband. Herbs picked at Midsummer were considered to be highly potent, and the spring water could bring you good health.

I hope my readers feel some of that spirit reading this post. Even if you don't celebrate the light in the way the Swedes do it, I know many of you honor it in other ways. Therefore I wish you all a Happy Midsummer! Or as we say in Sweden: Glad Midsommar!

By Kate Kalmström
COO Business Solutions

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