It is a celebration close to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Seeing as the Swedish spend so much time in the dark in winter, it is easy to understand why a day full of sunshine and light is celebrated. Traditionally, people celebrate Midsummer on a Friday, whichever one is closest to June 21, with friends and family, food and alcohol, music and flowers.
After arriving in Loka Brunn in the evening, we had a sauna and a dip in the lake right next to it. Let me tell you, a Swedish lake in June is very far from a bathtub temperature-wise.
The following morning we collected flowers in the surrounding woods, braiding them into birch circlets to make a midsommarkrans, the traditional flower coronet. There are no rules for doing this. You can use any kind of flower and as many as you want to. Naturally, I overdid it a little.
You might also have heard of people funnily dancing around a pole, the midsommarstången. That is true. My favorite was a dance where everyone acted like frogs, closely followed by the one where everyone forms a tunnel with their hands and one couple after the other has to run through in the weirdest way they can come up with. Impossibly, I laughed even more during the games that followed. Those might have included eating gummy strings without using my hands. I almost choked to death on the darn thing.
The meal includes a few traditional dishes, one of them being älgköttbullar – moose meatballs – and potatoes. For the brave, there is also sill – pickled, sweetened herring – one of the dishes Sweden is most known for. Lots of beer and snaps complement the meal. My personal favorite was dessert: strawberries with whipped cream.
All in all, it is a chance for Swedes to celebrate life and to spend time with family and friends.