In Sweden, Midsommar (Midsummer) is possibly the second most celebrated holiday after Christmas and is an occasion of large gatherings − Many Swedes start their summer holidays for midsummer and in many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.
Swedes like the world to be well-ordered, so Midsummer Eve is always a Friday between 19 and 25 June. People often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the Maystång (maypole), which is a key component in the celebrations. It also used to be that if you picked 7 or 9 different flowers and put them under your pillow when going to sleep, you would then dream of the person you would be spending the rest of your life with.
The maypole is raised in an open spot and traditional ring-dances ensue, to the delight of the children and some of the adults. Teenagers tend to stay out of it and wait for the evening’s more riotous entertainment. Dancing late into the night is very popular during this longest day of the year!
Of course, we will also enjoy a meal that will often consist of the first potatoes of the season (nypotatis) served with fresh dill, soured cream and chives, herring, smoked salmon, eggs and strawberries with cream together with cold beer and akvavit accompanied by singing.