We are going away over the night, since it is Midsummer today and in Sweden we have lots of special things to do today. So I serve you with a text about midsummer traditions (since I know lots of you will want to know!) and some Swedish summer photos from Kyrkstugan taken this past week.
Midsummer Eve – this year 2006 June 23 – is probably the most popular festival day in Sweden, together with Christmas. Midsummer is an old pagan celebration, dating back to the Viking Era. It was a fertility rite originally, where the May pole was a phallic symbol, “impregnating” Mother nature. It was hoped that this would help to give a good harvest in the autumn.
The customs around Midsummer are many and very old. The May pole is still risen in all Sweden and people are playing old song and dancing games around it at nearly every village.
Nowadays Midsummer is a national holiday. Family and friends meet, eat herring and fresh potatoes and drink schnapps and beer.
The actual day of the celebration is also the longest day of the year (summer solstice), signifying that summer has reached the half-way point.
In modern times, Midsummer Day is celebrated on the Saturday between June 20 – 26.
This year – 2006 – it is celebrated June 24
A new rule in Church of Sweden says that we celebrate St John’s Day at the Sunday after Midsummer Day. The correct date of St John’s day is June 24.
The Midsummer night is the night of the great and the hidden powers. Everything is filled with power: the dew, the flowers, the twigs of the trees, the water in the springs. Dew can heal sickness, the leaven gets better with drops of the dew of Midsummer night. Leaves can be used as dressing bandage and you can take away pain if you have some night leaves from the birches in your bath.
In folklore there are many ideas about the Midsummer Night. In earlier time people assembled around the springs to drink “marrow into the bones”. They did not drink just water….
A wreath or a bouquet with seven or nine (the traditions vary) is full of power. But you must pick the flowers all alone and in total silence. One flower from the churchyard increases the power even more. The ready bound wreath you may hang in the ceiling and let it remain there until it is time for the Christmas straw wreath. Your house will stay happy and healthy. A pair of young birches around the porch make happiness into the house, a twig of birch in the cornfield gives better harvest nine flowers image made by me The bouquet of flowers under your pillow make you dream of your future husband, good if you can pick them at a crossroad from the roadbanks of three different roads… [from ugglemor]
Pictures from my midsummer this year will of course have to come later, if any.
But some summer pictures that I wanted to show you are below:
At Kyrkstugan you can have coffee at the syrénberså (lilac bower) if you like two. I don’t know if growing a lilac in a ring and putting a table in the middle is typically Swedish? But it’s a very calm place to sit on hot days. You get lovely smell and nice shadow! My parents have one in their garden, but we don’t use it to often since mom and I always wants to enjoy the sun when it is out!
Since we bought a cat in April I see other cats (and cat related stuff) everywhere!
Happy midsummer to you all!