Those following me on Twitter know that I flew to Stockholm 2 days ago to celebrate Midsummer. It is a first for me so I was very curious and eager to discover the traditions. Lisa had already gave me a hint of the celebrations and the Gentleman had tried to explain the concept behind the flower crowns but I couldn't wait to experience it, so a big big Merci to Hanna and HP for hosting us and organising such a fantastic day!
For those who are not familiar with the concept, the Swedes celebrate the summer solstice which is the longest day of the year (the sun sets for only 2 or 3 hours tops in Sweden) by partying all day and night. It felt like a summer Christmas to me: everybody gathering around 11am, helping with the cooking and the setting of festivities, children running around, good wine, home made food and lots of friends and family.
So Hanna and I started the day by going on a walk picking flowers. The tradition is that single girls should go through 7 different fields, over 7 fences to pick 7 different kind of flowers. Then they would make flower crowns on Midsummer and that was supposed to allow them to dream about the man they were going to marry.
I can't say I dreamt about a wedding but I did love that early walk in the neighbourhood with birds and frogs. The house is in the suburbs of Stockholm, around a lake, the houses are colourful and pretty cosy, and the weather was dry, sunny and chilled, great to wake up.
Next step after picking the flowers was filtering them in order to make the crowns and dressing the Maypole, a wooden pole (actually it looks more like a cross with 2 flowers crowns hanging on each side). I am not going to get into the meaning of the Maypole, between paganism and manhood, I am still trying to figure it out, but the tradition is actually to dance and sing around it, and obviously: I could not wait to witness that! Pictures to follow, bear with me.
Making the crowns is a skills that Swedish girls learn quite early on. C. who made ours was telling me that they spent their teenage Midsummers making flower crowns. She hadn't done it in a few years but it seems like making flower crowns is like riding a bike: you can't really forget it!
You can see a small and a big crown, the small one was for baby R., isn't she the cutest Swedish little girl? She is 6 months old, very talkative (a real girl!), and very generous with her smiles (more of her smiles here)...
And so the day was filled with flowers and good food! Here is to Sweden and Summer, Glad Midsommar pitchouns!