Tomorrow, all of Sweden is celebrating Midsummer. If that’s a new concept to you, allow me to explain.
Midsummer is a very important holiday here, of pagan origin, and the day is packed with a lot of traditional activities and, in many cases, partying till someone finds you in a ditch the day after…
People dress up in traditional folk costumes, sing songs like Små grodorna and do certain dances, we eat pickled herring like there’s no tomorrow and, as with any holiday in Sweden, there’s some serious alcohol intake going on.
Midsummer is believed to be a time for magic, and historically there were a number of rituals taking place. Some people (mostly women, it seems) pick 7 or 9 flowers and put them under their pillow – the result is that they should dream about their future spouse.
But, most importantly, we raise a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång in Swedish), and then we all dance around it.
And yes, I know, the look of it and our behavior just screams:
All hail the mighty penis!
While it is definitely an enormous phallic symbol, the tradition is quite nice, actually! Adults and children clothe the maypole with leaves and flowers, and then it’s raised (no jokes, pun completely unintended!) to the cheer of the people.
There, now I hope you are a little bit more enlightened about Swedish traditions.