If to consider the fact that all of the Nordic countries have long winters, it is not a surprise that people make an enormous deal from summer. Sweden is of no exception. This country’s biggest holiday is Midsummer’s Eve. It is not only one of the oldest and most cherished day, but also widely celebrated in the whole country. However, for foreigners, the way those people celebrate this holiday may seem a bit odd. Read more about the top unique Swedish midsummer traditions
The sad news is that this year’s celebration will look different than in previous years. People will need to get accustomed to the new rules since the coronavirus pandemic is still a major threat, and people’s safety is of the utmost importance. Large gatherings are yet not allowed in Sweden, which is why the government recommends celebrating in small groups and with the closest family and friends.
In the middle of the 20th century, it has been established that this holiday will be celebrated on the weekend. So, the actual date varies each year between June 20-26. Read on to find out what are the most bizarre Swedish traditions that people honor in Midsummer.
The Frog Dance
Oh, this tradition is worth mentioning, since it is the one that attracts most of the people’s attention. So, to implement this tradition, people gather around a maypole and dance. But they don’t do the regular dancing that we all are used to. People hop like actual frogs while singing ‘Små grodorna’ – a song about frogs, but it depicts them in a biologically incorrect way.
Related: 55 Reasons to Visit Sweden
The Midsummer Maypole
A maypole, known as the Midsommarstången, is the main attribute when it comes to the celebration of this holiday. People decorate it with greens, leaves, and flowers. Then this pole is placed at some prominent space in the town for everyone to see it. People gather around it, dance, and have fun. You might begin to wonder what it may symbolize. But only the best essay writing service knows what is the true meaning behind the maypole tradition.
The More Herring the Better
As you might have already known, the Swedes’ most favorite thing to eat is herring. They can eat it all day and night long, and it is usually a fixture of most of their celebrations. People cook it in all possible ways – smoked, pickled, with onions, and in many other ways. So, be prepared, there will be plenty of fish.
Related: Drinking in Scandinavia
At this point, you may be wondering how can older and respected people dance around a maypole and hop like frogs. The answer to that is simple – they drink alcohol. The two days when the Swedes do plenty of drinking are Christmas and Midsummer. Their most preferred drink at those holidays is flavored snaps. If it happens that you visit such a celebration, be extremely careful with this drink, as it may be much stronger, then you thought.
But the people not only drink but do it while singing songs. One of the most popular drinking songs is Helan Går.
Even if you are a man in his 40s, be prepared that you may need to wear a wreath in your hair made of flowers. Despite your age and gender, making and wearing such an accessory is a lifelong tradition that has been cherished decades.
Such attention to flowers is not for no reason. Some of the people think that they can help in building relationships. They believe so not only because the flowers are beautiful and people get attracted to them, but because of an old tradition. It states that if at this holiday you find seven different flower kinds, gather them from seven spots in the forest, and place those flowers under your pillow, you will have a dream and will see your future spouse. It is believed that thanks to those flowers, girls get magical powers and get to foresee the future.
It is no secret that the weather in Sweden is not always the warmest one. There might be a lot of rain, even in the summer. It is why, despite the fact that the Swedes don’t enjoy small talk a lot, they do have a tendency to talk about the weather before the Midsummer holiday. The whole country guesses what the weather will be like and waits patiently for the weekend to come. And that wait to see whether it will rain or not also brings the Swedes a lot of fun.
Feature image (on top): Swedish midsummer by Tobias Tullius/Unsplash
Top Unique Swedish Midsummer Traditions, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian